Tight end Cole Kmet was the first Notre Dame player to be drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft when his hometown Chicago Bears selected him with the 43rd overall pick in the draft. Kmet was the first tight end selected in the draft.
No Notre Dame players were selected on Thursday night in the first round of the draft, but it didn’t take long for a Golden Domer to hear his name called on Friday night. Kmet was the 11th pick of the second round when the Chicago Bears selected a local product to be their tight end of the future.
The Bears had a need at tight end after releasing former Eagles Super Bowl hero Trey Burton earlier this off-season. Burton was a high priced free agent of the Bears just two years ago, but ultimately didn’t work out for Chicago.
Kmet steps into a great depth chart situation with the Bears, but the Bears have some uncertainty at quarterback. Mitch Tribisky is as close to bust status as you can get at this point, but the Bears did trade for another Eagles Super Bowl hero, Nick Foles, earlier this off-season. If Foles wins the Bears job, Kmet could be in for a big rookie season since Foles loves throwing the ball to his tight ends.
The Bears were one of two teams that I thought made a lot of sense for Kmet when I previewed the Notre Dame players likely to be drafted tonight. The other was the New England Patriots, but they went defense by selecting small school safety Kyle Dugger with the 37th overall pick.
Kmet left Notre Dame a year early after a breakout junior season – hist first as a started. Kmet did not have a single touchdown in his career prior to 2019, but had six this past season. He ended his junior year with 515 yards on 43 receptions. He entered the 2019 campaign with just 17 career catches for 176 yards.
Notre Dame’s tradition of producing NFL tight end continues with Kmet’s selection giving the Irish yet another year in which they produced the first tight end taken in the NFL Draft.
Kmet follows in the footsteps of Kyle Rudolph as a 43rd over all pick. The Minnesota Vikings made Rudolph the 43rd overall selection nine years ago. Like Rudolph, Kmet also had injuries slow his progression and Notre Dame and like Rudolph, it is very likely that Kmet has a better professional career than collegiate.
Chase Claypool and Julian Okwara figure to be the next two Notre Dame players selected and could be off the board by the end of the second round.