The Chicago Bears stayed put and drafted two playmakers on opposite sides of the ball in the second round. With their first pick, the Bears gave Matt Nagy another weapon for his offense in Cole Kmet. Seven picks later, the team drafted cornerback Jaylon Johnson to be Kyle Fuller’s partner in crime. While most people thought the Bears would trade back, Ryan Pace must’ve seen something too irresistible to pass on. Here is what both players will bring to the team.
Pick 43 – Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
The Chicago Bears add their tenth tight end to the roster by drafting Cole Kmet. One of them has to be able to make an impact, right? I genuinely think Kmet can be that guy. Regarded as the top tight end in the draft, the Bears are getting an athletic 6’5″ and 250 pound weapon. His large frame gives him a huge catch radius, while his soft hands allow him to reel in passes that he may need to extend for. He tends to win most of his match-ups on drag and seam routes where his refined breaks give him separation. For such a big guy, its impressive how much production he sees down the field. He ran a 4.70 second 40-yard dash, so he’s not much of a blazer, yet you still see him getting behind the defense due to his well polished routes. There is a lot to love about this guy, and he’s going to love being here since he grew up in Chicago as a Bears fan.
Why Did the Bears Draft a Tight End?
It may have come as a surprise to some that the Bears used their first pick on a tight end. Most thought we would have gone WR, CB, S, or even draft an offensive lineman first. The reason Cole Kmet was picked before addressing any other needs is because of how crucial the position is to the offense. The tight end position is a catalyst for the offense that Matt Nagy runs. Two of the top three tight ends in the league in Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz come from the same style of offense. A genuine receiving threat at tight end opens up the entire offense. With Kmet, defenders will hopefully have to worry about all parts of the field as he can attack the middle, while Allen Robinson and Co. will require attention on the outside. Jimmy Graham obviously isn’t a long term answer, so Pace invested in the position for the present and future.
Pick 50 – Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
As I predicted in my mock draft, the Bears went with cornerback Jaylon Johnson out of Utah. There is so much to love about this pick because of how much he brings to the table. Johnson is absolutely NFL ready and will elevate this defense starting day one. His physicality is something to admire, as he never lets a receiver off easy. He’s not afraid to get in an opponent’s face, and often gets his hands on them right as the ball is snapped. He checks off almost every trait you could want, but above all is his playmaking ability. You can tell Johnson has his head in the film as he’s often able to recognize routes and come up with turnovers by breaking on them. He processes the field very quickly in a similar fashion to Kyle Fuller. The Bears now have an All-Pro corner on one side along with a potential shut down corner on the opposite. This pick will surely help the defense return to its elite 2018 form.
Overview and Final Thoughts
The Chicago Bears came out on top of the second round. Although we do not have another pick until the fifth round, we do have two top tier players who could have easily been first round picks. I would have preferred it if we traded down, but it’s hard to be mad with the players we got. Tight ends can take time to develop, but that’s the reason we brought in Jimmy Graham. If Kmet doesn’t make an instant impact, we at least have somewhat of a receiving threat at the position. With a draft this deep at wide receiver, we will have plenty of time to address it on day three of the NFL draft.
Zack Busse is a Bears writer for Time Skew. Follow him on twitter @BusseZack for more Bears content.