Chicago Bears: Is Cole Kmet’s role about to expand?

Chicago Bears (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Bears (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

What’s up next for the Chicago Bears’ rookie tight end?

The Chicago Bears spent considerable resources overhauling their tight end room this offseason. It started with the free-agent signings of Jimmy Graham and Demetrius Harris and was finalized with the selection of Cole Kmet with their first overall pick in the second round of the NFL Draft.

However, the early returns on Kmet have been mixed and have left many fans clamoring for him to be a greater part of the offensive game plan. Those fans may get their wish after his performance last Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

Quarterback Nick Foles connected with Kmet for the Bears first touchdown of the game and Cole’s first touchdown of his career. It was an incredible moment for the former Notre Dame star who grew up rooting for the Bears, his hometown team.

Kmet later hooked up with Foles on an 11-yard completion to finish the game with two catches for 20 yards and one touchdown. It may not seem like a lot, but prior to Sunday, Kmet had only one catch on a total of three targets in five games.

Until now, the Bears have been thrilled with Kmet the blocker, and he has shown an above-average ability in that regard, even for a rookie. For whatever reason, he has not been featured much in the passing game. It could be he is still getting adjusted to the offense, or perhaps it is just a simple case of misuse by the head coach. No one outside those in the know can say for sure, but either way, it appears that might be changing.

Until now, Harris has largely taken the snaps that would go to Kmet. The Bears clearly like what Graham brings to the passing game, so it would seem logical that if Kmet is going to take snaps away, it’ll be from Harris and not Graham.

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In any event, there are some, including former players like Olin Kreutz, calling for Kmet to be the starter. And based on his performance last week, and some mishaps from Harris, there is reason to believe Kmet’s role will increase substantially. If he can continue to prove reliable in the passing game like he did on Sunday, he’ll take the starting job away and never look back.