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Notre Dame Football

Instant Reaction | Kmet Declares for the NFL Draft

January 2, 2020

Cole Kmet stated he would be returning for his senior year, but ISD’s Matt Freeman was quick to mention that what might be true at that time could change a couple of months later.

Here we are a couple of months later and Kmet has declared for the NFL Draft.

It’s impossible to blame him given the circumstances. It’s a weak year for the tight end position in the Draft and Kmet is likely going to be TE1 on many boards. The NFL advisory board came back with a second round grade for him and there is always a chance he could sneak into the first round. He’s going to test very well at the NFL combine and that should only boost his stock.

He leaves Notre Dame after a season that was right behind what Kyle Rudolph and Tyler Eifert put together in terms of per game averages for receptions and yards. There is no doubt his ability to work down the seam and his toughness after the catch will be missed. 

Him not returning also means that 180 catches and 23 touchdowns are walking out the door between him, Chase Claypool, and Chris Finke. He would have likely had an even more prominent role in the offense in 2020.

The good news is that the depth at tight end is very strong. Tommy Tremble is going to see a lot of the targets that would have gone to Kmet and that’s not a bad thing at all. He showed he has the speed to run by linebackers down the middle of the field (three receptions of 20 yards or more). By the end of the season he was showing himself to be a better blocker than Kmet as well.

That’s where Notre Dame can upgrade. Kmet’s blocking was inconsistent at best. Tremble and Brock Wright are a better tandem and should help the running game more than Kmet would have unless he made drastic improvement in that area of his game.

Wright will get more snaps now. George Takacs, who flashed his ball skills on a touchdown catch against Duke, will have a chance to step up too. Let’s not forget the addition of Michael Mayer‍. He’s someone even if Kmet  returned might be too talented to keep off the field much like Kyle Hamilton was at safety this past season.

It’s certainly a blow to next year’s offense because Kmet is now a known quantity. He was going to be an impact player and proved he was one already in 2019. But no one should forget that Kmet had zero touchdowns catches and only 17 career receptions before he broke through against Georgia in his first game as a junior.

Kmet just needed more of an opportunity to do more and we could very well be seeing someone like Tremble become a difference-maker for the Irish now that there will be more targets to go around.

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