Cole Kmet, a local kid from suburban Lake Barrington, IL was the first tight end selected in this year’s draft. The six foot-six inch pass catcher was asked about comparison’s to NFL tight ends. He replied, “The guy I looked up to is Gronk when he played. His physical style and play and being able to use his size at 6-6 is unique and is something that I can do. His style of play is something that I can model after, and that’s what I’m trying to emulate and be.”
Coach Matt Nagy said that Kmet stood out to them early in the process. “Right away you look at this guy, and we were joking. He’s like Robocop. He can block. He can catch. He can do a lot of good things. You never know how things are going, but A local kid, a super person, and a really special player.”
2020 BEARS DRAFT CLASS
Player Pos. Rd. Overall School
Cole Kmet TE 2 43 Notre Dame
Jaylon Johnson DB 2 50 Utah
Trevis Gipson LB 5 155 Tulsa
Kindle Vildor DB 5 163 Georgia Southern
Darnell Mooney WR 5 173 Tulane
Arlington Hambright OL 7 226 Colorado
Lachavious Simmons OL 7 227 Tennessee State
The Bears have constantly selected players whose brains can match their brawn. The team’s second choice is no exception. Jaylon Johnson was a 2019 All-American at the University of Utah and a two-time first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2018 and 2019. This 6-0, 195-pound defensive back played in 38 career games with 29 starts, recording seven interceptions and 28 career passes defended. He also was a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic performer in the classroom.
“I expected to go a lot higher,” said Johnson. “but I’m definitely forever grateful for the Bears as the first team to believe in me and give me an opportunity to provide for my family. I didn’t expect to be around for that pick, but I am forever grateful.” He’s very excited to be a part of the Bears defense.
‘I think of the Khalil Mack trade. Kyle Fuller, I’ve been studying his game, and liked him since I was in college. Even Eddie Jackson, knowing how much of a playmaker he is, and how experienced he is. Just being able to be part of that defense and add some value will be big time.”-Jaylon Johnson
GM Ryan pace got busy on day three, wheeling and dealing. He dispatched the team’s 2021 fourth-round pick in exchange for the Minnesota Vikings’ 2020 fifth-round pick (No. 155 overall) to select linebacker Trevis Gipson from Tulsa. Chicago continued to focus on defensive needs with its second pick, going with defensive back Kindle Vildor from Georgia Southern. Chicago traded up a second time in the fifth round 10 picks later, selecting wide receiver Darnell Mooney from Tulane University at No. 173. Chicago sent its 2020 sixth-round picks (No. 196 and No. 200) along with seventh-round pick (No. 233) to the Philadelphia in return for this year’s fifth-round pick (No. 173) and their 2020 seventh-rounder (No. 227). Afterwards Pace commented, “We felt like that was kind of a sweet spot in the draft, right there in the fifth round. For us to look up at the end of the draft and get three players we were excited about, our scouts and coaches were fired up about that.”
Gipson (6-4, 253 pounds) played four years for Tulsa, appearing in 49 career games with 24 starts. He compiled 25.5 career tackles-for-loss, including 15 in 2019, and 13.0 career sacks. He also forced eight fumbles while recording 114 career tackles. Ryan Pace noted, “There’s a lot of natural pass rush traits to him and I think they all translate to our game very well. We see him as an outside linebacker in our system.”
Vildor, (5-11, 190-pounds) spent four years at Georgia Southern. He was a two-time All-Sun Belt Conference first team honoree, having appeared in 48 games (29 starts) while totaling 95 tackles (73 solo), 33 passes defensed, nine interceptions and one forced fumble. “He has excellent football makeup. Consistent production throughout his college career. High end ball skills.He can play inside or outside,” according to Pace, who sees Vildor as a contributor on special teams.
Mooney, (5-11, 174-pounds) played in 49 games in four seasons at Tulane. He caught 151 passes for 2,529 yards and 19 touchdowns with a career long of 86 yards. He had a breakout junior season in 2018, catching 48 passes for 993 yards and eight TDs. Last season, he netted 45 receptions for 670 yards and five touchdowns. Pace selected him for “legit speed, and route quickness,.” along with his ability to step up in big games.
In the seventh and final round, the Bears made two picks that will hopefully bolster their porous offensive line, choosing Arlington Hambright (6-5, 300 pounds) from Colorado (No. 226 overall) and Lachavious Simmons (6-5, 315 pounds) of Tennessee State (No. 227 overall). Hambright started all 11 games in his final college season with 68 knockdown blocks, 12 touchdown blocks and 13 perfect plays on passing touchdowns. He was named the Pac-12 Offensive Lineman of the Week three times. Simmons, a redshirt senior playing in all 12 games, and the year prior, earned a spot on the Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll (3.25+ GPA).
We feel like we got better and I think that’s the number one goal.-Matt Nagy
Pace talked about the challenges of pulling off this draft, “I’m just really proud of the way we operated and navigated through this whole draft. Collaboration is a key word when I think about the seven players that we drafted. Really, every player, there was a just a clear alignment and vision with our coaches on every single guy we selected. The communication amongst our staff was outstanding through this whole draft process. I just can’t say enough about our IT and video departments, because those guys stepped up in a huge way. The scouts put so much work into this. We weren’t in the same room physically this year, but we were extremely connected through the process. It was such a unique experience to do this with our families. It will be something we will always remember.
Nagy said, “It was a pretty cool experience. It was certainly unique. The communication process between our personnel department, our IT, and our coaches. It was pretty seamless. It was a special couple of days here.”
Draft Grades from the Media
Pro Football Focus: B+
Bleacher Report: B
Sports Illustrated: B-
SB Nation: C+
Yahoo Sports: C+
Sporting News: C
Most of the glow grades appeared to stem from the lack of high draft picks. These were traded away in the deal to acquire Khalil Mack. Ironically most draft analyses felt that Kmet was the best Tight End available, although the team has no shortage at that position. Getting Johnson at the 50th spot was definitely considered to be a coup by Chicago.