Many wondered what the Bears might do with their two second round picks in this year’s draft. Some speculated they’d target a wideout in one of the league’s deepest receiver draft classes ever. Others wondered if they beef up the offensive line or draft a developmental quarterback. Still others considered the possibility the Bears would trade back and accumulate more picks.
In the end, the Bears stayed put and used both draft picks, selecting Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet and Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson. As I wrote the other day, cornerback and tight end were among the team’s biggest needs and they aggressively filled them.
Kmet, Johnson will contribute immediately
While adding an offensive lineman, wide receiver, and maybe even a quarterback remain a possibility, none of those three positions would guarantee immediate returns. And for a team that is built to win now, they needed to get instant contributors.
Kmet and Johnson figure to provide exactly that.
Kmet becomes the 10th tight end on the Bears’ roster, as I’m sure you’re well aware. The media has constantly reminded us of that fact. But they’re not all going to remain there when the season begins, obviously. And Kmet will immediately earn reps from the outset.
“You really have two different styles to tight ends in this offense,” general manager Ryan Pace told the media after the pick. “You have the ‘U’ tight end; that would apply more to Jimmy Graham, and you have the ‘Y’ tight end, which is a little bit more of an in-line guy, good in the run game and he needs to have the size to be able to do that, and that’s what we see in Cole.”
Kmet and Graham likely will see time on the field together in addition to splitting reps. This will keep both guys fresh and utilize the talents of both.
Johnson, meanwhile, steps into competition for the other starting cornerback spot opposite Kyle Fuller. Cornerback, in my eyes, was the biggest need for the team considering they did not have a starting-caliber player after they released Prince Amukamara this offseason.
Johnson was considered a first-round talent who slipped to the second round because he recently had shoulder surgery. He should be fine by the start of the season and he brings a toughness and a nose for the football that experts have often compared to Fuller himself.
Bears will continue adding competition with remaining picks
At the time of this writing, the Bears have five more picks remaining in the 2020 NFL Draft. But they don’t have any fourth-round choices, so they’ll have to wait a while on Saturday afternoon.
With their fifth-round pick, their two sixths and two sevenths, the Bears will continue adding pieces to the depth chart to create competition. As we’ve seen by Pace’s moves this offseason at quarterback and tight end, the Bears are interested in amping up the competition at some of their positions of weakness.
I’d expect the Bears to add another receiver with one of those five choices after they released Taylor Gabriel for cost-cutting reasons. I also hope they address the safety position opposite Eddie Jackson because they need another player who can fill the box on run plays.
Lastly, I hope they beef up the offensive line and consider selecting a developmental quarterback.
Let’s see what Pace has in his bag of tricks.