The Cole Kmet-era in Chicago has been slowly, but surely developing. Drafted in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Cole Kmet was selected to help the Bears find a multi-year cure at the tight end position. After years of incompetence at tight-end, then-GM Ryan Pace made sure to fill in a needed spot on the Bears with the young player out of Notre Dame. Let’s look at how his time in Chicago has gone so far.
After being the Bears’s first pick in the 2020 pick, Cole Kmet was expected to take over most of the playing action from Jimmy Graham, who was the Bears’s then TE1 on the depth chart. Nonetheless, the 6’6”, Chicago-native was prepared to work hard and help the Bears in any way possible.
With Matt Nagy as the head of the offense, Jimmy Graham was given a lot of the snaps instead of Cole Kmet, though Kmet still got action. In 2020, Cole Kmet tallied up 28 catches for 243 yards and 2 scores, those numbers aren’t terrible for a rookie playing in Matt Nagy’s offense. But without blaming the coaching, Cole Kmet remained positive after a subpar season.
As 2021 came, many wondered if Jimmy Graham was going to be cut and the Bears would let Cole Kmet be the true TE1 that many Bears fans would like him to become, especially for the high draft pick they used to get him. In 2021, as the Bears’s offense struggled again, Kmet and Graham both seemed to be the TE1, but it was almost certain that Graham would end up walking as his contract expired at the end of the year. In 2021, Bears fans were disappointed to see Kmet have 60 receptions for 612 yards, but no touchdowns. A lot of fans, myself included, wanted to see Kmet progress more into the offense during the 2021 season, but it didn’t seem to happen the way fans would have liked.
In 2022, with a new coaching staff and Fields under center most of the year, Kmet’s statistics improved for the better. Throughout Week 18, Kent has posted a decent 46 catches on 64 targets for 487, but more importantly, 6 of those went for scores as he has surely progressed and proven himself in the past year.
Cole Kmet is a tall, physical tight end who, in a lot of ways, reminds me of a less-decorated Rob Gronkowski. Kmet has a good build and is overwhelmingly strong that helps in the run-blocking or pass-blocking game while still being able to make defenders miss as he goes up for improbable catches.
Sure, Cole Kmet has not fully yet played to the standard in which Bears fans would have liked, but after watching this season, there is so much room for optimism moving forward. Kmet proved that with a solid quarterback and a better offensive system, he can succeed, just how he did at Notre Dame.
I predict a breakout year for Kmet next year, assuming he stays healthy, as he cements himself as the Bears true TE1, and posting career-best numbers. And with a hopefully revolutionary offseason, the Kmet and the Bears can be a tough team that can compete in the playoffs.