The Bears, and then general manager Ryan Pace, drafted Cole Kmet with the No. 43 pick in the NFL draft. They selected the Notre Dame product early in the second round to become the next-up tight end in the organization.
Where did he think he was going to be taken on draft night? It wasn't the Chicago Bears, that's for sure. Kmet detailed his draft night story with Equanimeous and Amon-Ra St. Brown with The 33rd Team.
"I knew I was gonna go like late-first or early second (round)," Kmet said. "The first night goes by. I had no idea the Bears were interested. The Bears had like nine tight ends at the time."
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Kmet's senses were correct.
The Bears did, in fact, have several tight ends rostered at the time. Adam Shaheen, Trey Burton, J.P. Holtz, Eric Saubert and Ben Braunecker, as the video displays. But that didn't deter one of his closest people from predicting he would land with his hometown team.
"Emily, my girlfriend, was like 'I think you're gonna go to Chicago,'" Kmet said. "I was trying to explain to her that's not how it really works. Then, Jacksonville (Jaguars) were on the clock. And then my phone rings. Literally right away.
"My brother goes 'Ah, s---.' He was pissed," Kmet said about his brother's thoughts on the Jaguars. "And he was like 'Okay, at least you won't have to pay state income tax.' So I was like 'Alright, good bright side.' And then I answered the phone and it ended up being the Bears."
Kmet's had a significant career with the Bears. In his sophomore season, Kmet started making an impact on the field. That season, in 2021, Kmet caught 60 passes for 621 yards, putting his name on the map.
The next season, he caught seven touchdown passes with a blistering 72.5% catch rate. He tacked on 50 receptions and 544 yards that season, too.
That season motivated the Bears --- and their new management, led by Ryan Poles --- to ink Kmet to an extension. Kmet and the Bears agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $50 million this past offseason, making him the ninth-highest-paid tight end in the league.
This season, he's caught three touchdown passes while hauling in 25 receptions and 240 yards. His game still requires a lot of work. But his blocking is a unique part of his game and one of the reasons the team wants him around for a long time.
It's crazy to think how far Kmet's come since being unexpectedly drafted by the Bears. And he'll never forget that moment from draft night.
"Everyone was just going crazy," Kmet said. "Obviously, just being from here. It was a super cool moment. My family has been super hyped about it. It was a lot of fun."