Chicago Bears NFL Combine Preview: Tight Ends

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears will be looking into every position at the NFL combine. While the team has Cole Kmet, they have little known depth behind him. Whether it is free agency or the NFL draft, they are going to be in the market for a tight end. Who are some names to keep an eye on?

Unlikely options for Chicago Bears:

Luke Musgrave, Michael Mayer, Dalton Kincaid, Darnell Washington

Unless something crazy happens, the names above will not be the names that the Chicago Bears draft. There is a chance that once the Bears pass on them at first overall, they will not see them on the board again. These are going to be top 50 picks, and while Chicago needs a complement to Cole Kmet, that is a bit too much of a draft cost.

Best Blocking Options for Chicago Bears

Luke Schoonmaker, Tucker Kraft, Davis Allen, Brayden Willis, Kyle Patterson

This may be where the Chicago Bears look to add a tight end. One thing you noticed last season was Cole Kmet started to make more explosive plays, and score more touchdowns. He was running more routes, and was blocking less because of the addition of Trevon Wesco.

Wesco is a free agent, but even if he comes back, the team should be looking to use Kmet in the passing game, and adding some blockers.

Schoomaker from Michigan may have the upside to be the best overall player from this group. He has grown each season as a blocer, and his athletic upside may be untapped. We will see how high that upside is this week.

Tucker Kraft from South Dakota State has a lot of ability, but coming from a small school you can never tell how easy the transition will be. Kraft is a solid blocker, but they often use him in the second level and out in space, and usually do not ask him to hold his own at the line as much.

Davis Allen from Clemson probably does not have the high end upside as a pass catcher, but he is reliable and has been moved around as an H-back. It will be interesting to see his profile this weekend after he had a nice Senior Bowl.

Brayden Willis may be more of an H-back than a tight end considering how he was used at Oklahoma. Khari Blasingame is a free agent, and Willis may be a mix between Blasingame and Willis.

Lastly is Kyle Patterson. Coming out of Air Force, he knows how to block, and has as much experiecne as anyone else in that area. Still, he had an ACL injury in 2021 that wiped away in 21 season, and hindered his ability in 2022. This will be a massive week for him when it comes to the medicals and how he handles evaluations.

Best Pass Catching Options for Chicago Bears:

Sam LaPorta, Blake Whiteheart, Josh Whyle, Payne Durham, Brenton Strange

When you think of an Iowa tight end, you are thinking a blocker, but Sam LaPorta was a relied on pass catching option. He hauled in over 50 passes and 600 yards in his last two seasons, leading the Hawkeyes over that span by a significant margin. There will actually be questions about if he can improve his blocking.

Wake Forest tight end Blake Whiteheart could be a move tight end, perhaps in a role similar to Trey Burton back when he was on the Eagles and Bears. His size will be worth looking into, including his arm length. Strange from Penn State is probably in a similar area. He tries to get after it as a blocker, but you can see he is likely to be limited in this area in the NFL, and his overall size will be under the microscope.

Josh Whyle from Cincinnatti may have the most physical upside. The athletic drills may be what sets him apart from this group. The question is how big he is and how he can hold up if he had to play in-line.

. 10 wide receivers Chicago Bears could pry away from other teams. dark

Payne Durham has a chance to be a complete and sound overall tight end. For him, the question may be more about whether he has upside to be a starting tight end, or if he is just a well rounded second tight end.