Chicago Bears 2020 NFL Draft 2nd Round Picks – Instant Reaction

By Ha Kung Wong

Pick 43

Cole Kmet

Tight End – Notre Dame

Sure, the Bears have a lot of tight ends on the roster right now and also just signed veteran Jimmy Graham to a 2-year $16 million deal.  But they did let Trey Burton go and have a real need for a play maker at tight end, something we haven’t seen from the Bears or from Jimmy Graham since the iPhone 6 was cutting edge technology (yes, that’s AT LEAST 5 generations ago).  And in 2019, the Bears got nothing from the five tight ends that played totaling a measly 44 catches for 395 yards and two touchdowns. Even over-the-hill Graham beat that total with 38 catches for 447 yards and three touchdowns.

During our Mock Draft, I selected an offensive tackle for the Bears at 43.  But that was before they let go of Trey Burton and the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2017.  If nothing else, that clearly telegraphed their intention go get another tight end either in free agency or in the draft.  Turns out it was the draft.

OK, so I’ll admit right now that I’m doubly biased here since I’m a Notre Dame fan, but that also gives me a ton of insight, because I watched every one of Cole Kmet’s games with the Irish.  And he’s about as NFL ready as you can get at the position, at least as a receiver.

Cole Kmet Notre Dame Stats
Rece Rece Rece Rece
Year G Rec Yds Avg TD
*2017 4 2 14 7.0 0
*2018 9 15 162 10.8 0
*2019 10 43 515 12.0 6
Career 60 691 11.5 6

Kmet actually signed at ND as a dual sport athlete, and led the baseball team with eight saves his freshman year.  But he switched his focus to football as a sophomore and really zoned in during his junior year, becoming one of Ian Book‘s primary targets catching 43 passes for 515 yards and 6 touchdowns, even after missing the season’s first 2 games with a broken collarbone.  He runs incredibly strong routes, has great body control on catches, and should instantly upgrade the Bears passing attack, whether it be Mitchell Trubisky or Nick Foles behind center.

The only issue, in my opinion, is Kmet’s weakness as a run blocker.  He’ll almost exclusively be a move tight end his rookie year, but could certainly grow into being a better blocker.

Pick 50

Jaylon Johnson

Cornerback – Utah

In our Mock Draft, I really thought the Bears should get a safety at pick 50.  But I went safety because Jaylon Johnson and Trevon Diggs were both off our board in the 1st round of our mock, so I understand why the Bears decided to go cornerback instead with both those guys available.

Currently, with Prince Amukamara gone, the Bears can essentially replace him with 2018 undrafted free agent Kevin Toliver II, former CFL player Tre Roberson or former Steelers cornerback Artie Burns.  Two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Kyle Fuller can’t cover the left and right side of the field, so it’s pretty clear that additional cornerback help is critical.

It’s a toss up between Diggs and Johnson, but I really like Johnson.  Johnson was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection for his work leading the Utes with four interceptions in his sophomore season, also adding 41 tackles and four pass breakups, and ranked eighth in the country with 126 interception return yards.  And even with a torn labrum, he managed to follow that up with a second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 season in 2019, leading the team with 11 pass breakups, adding 36 tackles and two interceptions.  He’s terrific in press and man coverage and is excellent at locating the ball in the air and using the sidelines to squeeze opposing wide receivers.  Johnson is instantly the odds on favorite to start on corner, but whether he’ll be ready coming off the March labrum surgery is a significant question.

Bears Second Round Overall Draft Grade: B+

Also check out our Instant Reaction and Grade for the Bears 5th Round Picks and the Bears 7th Round Picks!