Cole Kmet can climb exclusive list in second year with Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

There is not much for Chicago Bears fans to get excited about these days. They have a lame-duck coach and are waiting out the season with a tough end to the schedule. Still, over the next five games, there will be plenty to watch from the young players on the roster. One of those is Cole Kmet.

Tight end is a hard position to translate into the NFL, and it usually takes players a year or two to get going. Beyond that, younger tight ends often struggle because it means fewer repetitions in college as well.

This applied specifically to Cole Kmet, who was 20 years old when he was drafted, making him one of the youngest players in the NFL at one of the toughest positions to mature into.

It took Kmet some time, but he has taken strifes, and with five games to go he is up to 645 career yards. This does not sound groundbreaking until you realize that due to his age and experience there are not many others who are like this.

Below is a list of tight ends who have not turned 23 years old yet ranked in order of receiving yards.

Results Table
1Rob Gronkowski201020112132183132187314.192758.572.1%10.23
2Aaron Hernandez201020111728177124147311.881352.670.1%8.32
3Jason Witten200320041031176122132710.88742.869.3%7.54
4Mike Ditka*19611961131456107619.211276.9
5Todd Heap2001200292814584104212.40737.257.9%7.19
6David Njoku2017201873214888102511.65832.059.5%6.93
7Tony Gonzalez*1997199810321569298910.75430.959.0%6.34
8Jeremy Shockey200220028151287489412.08259.657.8%6.98
9Charle Young1973197311145585415.53661.0
10Johnny Mitchell199219938251025584015.27733.653.9%8.24
11Eric Ebron201420156271177278510.90629.161.5%6.71
12Jermichael Finley20082009827846175012.30627.872.6%8.93
13John Mackey*196319637143572620.74751.9
14Kyle Pitts2021202112824970914.47159.159.8%8.65
15Irv Smith Jr.20192020629906667610.24723.373.3%7.51
16Cole Kmet20202021228108686459.49223.063.0%5.97

Cole Kmet will turn 23 in March. With that in mind, he has five more games to climb this list. Now, one note is that Kyle Pitts is already on this list, and he will have a full season left. At his pace, he will be with Jason Witten, Aaron Hernandez, and Rob Gronkowski.

Kmet will not be quite at that level, but there is a reason that Pitts went so high. Still, for Kmet to see just 15 names above him all-time is a better start to his career than some fans may expect.

Beyond that, as noted with Pitts, those are big names he is being included with. From those three to Mike Ditka, Todd Heap, Tony Gonzalez, and Jeremy Shockey, the list is a who’s who of star tight ends.

Sure, David Njoku had a hot start and did not build on it, and the same can be said for Eric Ebron and Jermichael Finely. Still, those are the few on a list of a host of talented names. It speaks to the idea that Kmet is off to a great start.

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This season Kmet is averaging 33.5 yards per game. If he can maintain that pace he will finish around 813 career yards through two seasons. That would put him 11th all-time at his age with very few names above him not being elite for their time period. This should be worth watching because if Kmet can breakout down the stretch, he will finish in the top 10.