2022 Looks Like a Make or Break Year for Cole Kmet

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What You Need to Know:

-Kmet played all 17 games in 2021 after making 16 appearances as a rookie.

-The Notre Dame standout finished as a top-12 TE in only 3 games, despite ranking 10th in routes run among TEs.

-He was held back by 0 TDs, despite 93 targets and 612 yards. Bears WRs/TEs combined for only 15 TDs in a shaky passing game.

-Kmet was fed 12 red zone targets, or 21.1% of Chicago’s team total. That ranked 1st on the team; T-6th among all TEs.

-In 9 full games alongside Justin Fields, Kmet averaged just 5.5 targets, 3.4 catches and 36.6 yards (0 TDs) per game.

-The 2022 Bears are positioned to feature Kmet in a similar fashion. Darnell Mooney returns, but Allen Robinson (and his 66 targets) departed over the offseason.

-The replacement(s)? Byron Pringle, Equanimeous St. Brown and Round 3 rookie speedster Velus Jones.

-Chicago lost 23 targets with the departure of Jimmy Graham. 8 of his looks came in the red zone, so positive TD regression is just about a lock for Kmet.

-Only 23, Kmet will learn a new offense under HC Matt Eberflus and 1st-time play-caller Luke Getsy, formerly Green Bay’s QB coach.

-There’s been plenty of buzz this offseason on Kmet’s ’22 role/opportunity. With only Ryan Griffin and James O’Shaughnessy added to the position, Kmet will play a full-time role.

-Kmet will need a step forward from Justin Fields to safely finish inside TE1 range. Fields was inconsistent last year, ranking 21st in YPA, 27th in PFF passing grade and 33rd in adjusted completion rate among 33 QBs with 250+ dropbacks.

Draft Sharks Bottom Line:

The case for Kmet is clear:

He’s a full-time starter in an offense lacking WR talent. QB Justin Fields supplies a high upside. And a new coaching staff looks like an upgrade on Matt Nagy.

The jury’s still out on whether or not Kmet is good enough to post a true breakout season. But with a June ADP at TE19, he’s a logical late-round target for the opportunity alone.