Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
(percentile rank among all TEs at Combine since 1999, courtesy of Mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.70 seconds (69th)
Vertical: 37 inches (87th)
Broad: 123 inches (91st)
3-cone: 7.44 seconds (13th)
20-yard shuttle: 4.41 seconds (39th)
A top TE recruit out of high school, Kmet joined the Fighting Irish to play football and baseball. He pitched in 2018 and 2019, although his final season was cut short due to elbow soreness.
On the gridiron in 2018, he played behind Saints’ Round 7 pick Alize Mack — who’s 2 years older — before earning the full-time role last fall.
Kmet scored in 5 of Notre Dame’s first 6 games. He topped 60 yards in just 5 of 10 outings, but note that the team’s passing attack was average statistically (both in volume and efficiency). Kmet also missed the first 2 games of the season following a broken collarbone.
Only 21 and new to focusing on football full-time, Kmet looks like a raw prospect. But he’s done enough to garner some praise, per The Athletic’s Bob McGinn.
Said one scout: “If you want an all-around guy, kind of a Kyle Rudolph-type guy, he’s it,” said one evaluator. “He’s faster than Kyle, but he doesn’t have the ball skills. He’s had some durability issues. He’s got great intangibles. He can run. He can catch. He doesn’t have an elite trait but you really love the body type and everything about him.”
Another scout from McGinn's piece saw a “solid” #2 TE while comparing him to 2019 Bengals draft pick Drew Sample. So it's not like Kmet's a slam dunk prospect.
While it takes some projection, Kmet does possess the tools to eventually enter the fantasy mix.
Games watched: Virginia Tech, Virginia, Georgia, Boston College
At times, watching Kmet reminded me of Jason Witten. No, he's not lead-footed. Rather, he does well to plow through initial contact while grinding out additional yards. It's not flashy -- but it's effective. And it's something you like to see from a TE with plus size.
Kmet's 2019 debut came against Georgia. He proceeded to post 9 catches, 108 yards and 1 score in a close loss.
Here's a look at his ability to get downfield quickly and absorb contact. Kmet's alignment -- detached from the line -- was fairly common in the games I watched. He played 183 slot snaps in 2019, per Pro Football Focus (~26%).
Again, Kmet shows off his straight line speed -- plus body control. Interestingly, Kmet caught only 3 of 10 passes in contested catch situations (per Pro Football Focus). His 4.4% drop rare isn't alarming, so it's reasonable to expect some close-quarters improvement as he develops.
Kmet looks like a traditional NFL TE at 6'6, 262 pounds. He showed flashes as a blocker, which certainly helps his chances of earning year 1 snaps. He flashed as a pass-catcher, too, but with limited production, there's still some unknown here.
A weak TE class helps on the draft capital front. The 21-year-old is generally regarded as the top option, although Harrison Bryant or Adam Trautman could steal the top spot. Even if Kmet is the TE1, I'd expect him to come off the board no earlier than late Round 2.
We'll see about his landing spot, but immediate fantasy output should be considered a long-shot.