We are on the cusp of the 2020 NFL Draft, and this will be an unusual year to say the least. Regardless of the manner of the draft, we are still expecting a handful of former Notre Dame Fighting Irish players to be drafted — and another handful to become UDFAs.
We’re going to take a quick look at both handfuls over the next whatever hours, as we get ready for the big weekend ahead.
Cole Kmet — TIGHT END
Cole came to Notre Dame in 2017 from St. Viator High School in Illinois as the #3 tight end in the country. The Irish also added Brock Wright in that same class, and Wright was ranked as the #2 tight end in the country. Kmet quickly impressed the coaching staff, but gave very little production in his freshman year with only 2 receptions in 13 games.
Cole took a big step in his sophomore year and played a much larger role in the offense, but still only pulled in 15 receptions for 162 yards and no touchdowns. Kmet missed the first two games of 2019 with a broken collarbone that he suffered in fall camp, but made a huge splash in his season debut against the Georgia Bulldogs with 9 receptions, 108 yards, and the first touchdown of his career. Kmet finished the 2019 season with 43 receptions for 515 yards and 6 touchdowns.
How does he fit in the NFL?
Kmet could be an inline tight end in the NFL with his 6’6” and 262 pound frame, but his blocking will need some work. He has shown himself, however, to be athletic enough to play an H-back role if needed. His 4.7 40 time at the combine was unimpressive, but the game film from his time at Notre Dame shows otherwise.
Where will he go?
Kmet is widely seen as the best tight end in a down year for tight ends. What that says or does for Kmet is still fairly uncertain. Tight end is very much a valued position in the NFL, but it’s unlikely that Kmet goes in the first round — but it wouldn’t shock me.
PROJECTION: 2nd round
I love Cole Kmet, and given the state of the tight end class in this draft it makes financial sense for him to leave for the NFL a year early. Still, in 2020 he would have been Ian Book’s most trusted target, which could have meant a really big year — and numbers. I feel that Kmet could have still been the #1 tight end in next year’s draft had he returned to Notre Dame.