The Chicago Bears drafted a raw tight end in Cole Kmet, but they should have a plan for development with Clancy Barone.
The drafting of Cole Kmet was met with some criticism by Chicago Bears, mainly coming because of how raw he was coming out. Kmet is 21 years old and played baseball in the offseason at Notre Dame. He was not a full-time tight end.
When the Chicago Bears moved on from Kevin Gilbride to Clancy Barone, it was clear that they were changing the room altogether after an abysmal 2019 season.
When looking into the background of Barone, the expectation should be that he had input in the decision to take Kmet, and if that there is a tight end who can develop Kmet, it is Barone.
Barone started his journey as a tight ends coach in 2005 and 2006 with the Falcons. He did not draft Alge Crumpler, but Crumpler did have a career year across the board in 2006. His 2005 season also featured his third-best season in yards and touchdowns as well. It was the best two year run of his career.
Barone was the Chargers tight end coach in 2007 and 2008. That was during the prime run of Antonio Gates. Still, Gates was successful, but his two seasons with Barone were about on average with his career numbers with any coach.
He did not draft and develop either, though. He may have helped utilized Crumpler in the best manner, but his hire in Denver is the most telling.
In his first season as tight ends coach, the team added a no-name UDFA named Julius Thomas. It took two seasons with Barone, but Barone showed that he could develop the position, and Thomas blew up in 2013 and 2014 under Barone.
Lastly, Barone was in Minnesota for 2017 and 2018. Once again, he did not draft Kyle Rudolph, and he did not present elite production over average at that time.
However, when you combine all of the experiences, you have a great tight end coach for Cole Kmet.
With Gates and Crumpler, he grew and learned as a coach in terms of development and utilization. With Thomas, you saw his patience and development pay off as he turned out a useful tight end. After spending two years with Rudolph, it is nice to know that he spent this offseason scouting Kmet, and may have seen something similar. The two are tall, seam splitting, Notre Dame, tight ends who may be in-line options, but can be useful in an offense.
When you combine his development with his experience working with a similar tight end in Rudolph, you have to think that if any tight end coach is going to help the Chicago Bears see the most out of Cole Kmet, it is Clancy Barone.