If you're going to believe anyone's scouting report on Bears' rookie tight end Cole Kmet, make it Jimmy Graham's.
"His football intelligence, and his ability to soak in these plays, understand his assignments, and to understand football and defenses is extremely impressive for a young kid," Graham said. "That’s been the most impressive thing that I can say I notice with him.
"Also, he’s every bit of 260. He reminds me a young me. He’s got big legs and the amount of potential that the kid has and the amount of talent that he has is truly unbelievable."
The veteran was the latest to add to a growing chorus of praise for Kmet, who has, more often than not, looked the part through the first days of Bears training camp. After matching up across from Khalil Mack for his first padded NFL practice – an assignment he called his 'Welcome to the NFL' moment – Kmet's held his own against plenty of All-Pro players through the first week. He admitted that the level of speed and physicality in practices has been an adjustment, but showed some of that heralded football intelligence by adding that it'll be easy to get used to, "when you’re going against the top defense in the league every day at practice."
"My goal is every day to get better and find something every day to work on, some of the fine points of football, working technique on blocks or things like that," Kmet said. "I just pick some things every day to work on and continually get better. I know this is a long process in terms of becoming a complete football player, so being able to learn from guys like Jimmy Graham and Demetrius Harris ... "
Graham will certainly have a major role in Kmet's development – his spike after scoring a touchdown in practice was a revelation to Kmet, who 'comes from college where you’re not allowed to celebrate like that' – but the Bears are counting on the veteran to contribute just as much, if not more, on the field. He's been around the league long enough (which Kmet made painfully clear when talking about owning Graham's jersey as a 12-year old), to know what winning culture looks like, and the Bears caught his eye.
"I remember two years ago when they won and they were going to the playoffs and the party that they had going in that locker room," he said. "I remember what that looked like on TV. I knew what type of team, what type of guys I was coming into in this locker room."