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Cole Kmet predicted to be a breakout rookie in 2020

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Citrus Bowl - Notre Dame v LSU Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the 2020 NFL Draft in the rear-view mirror the time to over-analyze all the prospect’s fits on their new teams is upon us. We’ve already shared our grades, your grades, plus a few other grades, but in the recent article form Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr, he lists out seven rookies that he believes will make an immediate impact.

And nestled in there after a few first-rounders was the Chicago Bears top pick, tight end Cole Kmet from Notre Dame.

Here’s what Conor had to say about the player the Bears took at 43rd overall.

Kmet is one of approximately 1,100 tight ends on the Bears’ roster right now but shouldn’t have a difficult time working his way into a regular timeshare with Jimmy Graham. The Bears utilized two tight-end formations frequently on certain downs (it was their third-most utilized personnel grouping on first-and-10, for example) and he’s wonderfully improvisational inside the goal line. That will be rewarded, especially if the more mobile Mitchell Trubisky wins the job out of camp.

While his estimation on current Chicago tight ends is a bit high (it’s actually 9-ish right now), I do agree with his conclusion that Kmet will get some early playing time. But while he sees him splitting time with free agent pickup Jimmy Graham, I see Kmet slotting in at the Y tight end spot where Demetrius Harris is the likely starter to open camp.

The Bears have already said that Kmet is a Y in their scheme, with Graham a U tight end, but even if the rookie isn’t starting week one he should see the field plenty due to his receiving ability and athleticism. He may only learn the Y, but Chicago will still move him around the offense to create mismatches. My best early guess on his playing time will be roughly 50% of the Bears offensive snaps.

For comparisons sake, there were two tight ends picked in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, with the Vikings Irv Smith Jr. playing in 60% of their offensive snaps and the Bengals Drew Sample playing in only 10% of their snaps on offense. Smith played in all 16 games, while Sample ended the year on injured reserve after only 9 games. T.J. Hockensen, last years top tight end drafted by the Lions, played in 49% of their offensive snaps in 12 games.