Chicago Bears rookie tight end, Cole Kmet, will play a big role for the Bears offense in 2020. As Chicago's first pick from the 2020 NFL draft, albeit in the second round, his contribution to the passing game should be felt almost immediately.
But this is the Bears offense after all. There isn't much confidence about the group's upside across football media. As for Kmet, his projected output in 2020 is shockingly (and almost absurdly) low.
According to ESPN's fantasy expert Mike Clay, Kmet will barely have a pulse in 2020. Clay projects Kmet to finish his rookie year with just 21 catches for 221 yards and one touchdown. Granted, that would be an improvement over Trey Burton's 14 catches for 84 yards in 2019, but Burton was one of the worst players on the team last year. He's not exactly the measure of a good season.
It's possible that ESPN's projections for Kmet are more a result of their somewhat positive outlook for Graham (sort of). Clay predicts Graham will finish the season with 42 catches for 497 yards and three touchdowns. Again, not great. But when combined with Kmet, the Bears will have a tight end duo that eclipses 700 yards and four scores. Considering six tight ends combined for just 416 yards in 2019? Yeah, it can only go up.
Here's the issue with Clay's prediction: it assumes Graham will be the primary tight end in the Bears' passing attack throughout 2020. I just don't see that happening. The only thing preventing Kmet from being the starting tight end over an aging Graham is his lack of experience, as is the case for most rookies. He might have a longer learning curve, too, with how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the NFL's offseason workouts. But once he gets his NFL legs under him, there's little reason to believe Kmet won't be the primary option at the position. Maybe that'll happen as soon as Week 8. Maybe it'll happen in Week 12. But once it does, it's reasonable to expect Kmet to come closer to 500 yards and as many as five touchdowns by the time the season comes to a close.