LAKE FOREST – For a second-straight year, Ryan Pace was left to wait to make his first selection in the NFL Draft.
Many questioned whether the normally aggressive Bears’ general manager would keep the two second round picks he had a No. 43 and No. 50. Without a pick in the third round, it was thought that Pace could flip one of those selections to get there with perhaps another pick elsewhere.
Instead, Pace stayed firm, keeping both picks, and with his first selection picked a talented player at a position that’s critical to the success of Matt Nagy’s offense.
With his 43rd pick in the second round, he decided to stay put, and selected tight end and Lake Barrington native Cole Kmet of Notre Dame.
Considered one of the best tight ends in the draft, Kmet comes to a team in need of an impact tight end after an injury-riddled 2019 season. While the Bears have a number of players currently on the roster at the position, there is a lack of a No. 1 tight end even after the offseason signing of Jimmy Graham.
Perhaps Kmet could rise up the ranks quickly, especially after his final season with the Fighting Irish, when he caught 43 passes for 515 yards and six touchdowns.
It was a breakthrough season for the Kmet, who caught just 17 passes in the two previous campaigns at Notre Dame. At Saint Viator, Kmet was a standout tight end who was ranked by a few services as a Top 5 tight end for the Class of 2017.
In his senior season in 2016, Kmet caugth 48 passes for 773 yards and four touchdowns as a senior at Saint Viator in 2016
Cole becomes the second Kmet to play for the Bears, joining his father Frank, who was on the team’s practice squad in the early 1990s. The younger member of the family will get his shot to compete for major playing time if not even a starting role at the tight end spot whenver the season may begin.
Kmet will have some competition as he joins nine other tight ends currently on the team’s roster. Graham comes to Chicago after two seasons in Green Bay while Demetrius Harris comes over from the Browns. Ben Braunecker, Jesper Horsted, J.P. Holtz, Dax Raymond, Eric Saubert,and Adam Shaheen return from the injury plagued group from 2019.