The Chicago Bears addressed one of their biggest weaknesses on a struggling offense by drafting Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet with the No. 43 overall pick Friday night and added Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson at No. 50.
Bears tight ends combined for just 395 yards last season and none had more than 91 all year. They now have 10 on their roster after taking the sure-handed, 6-foot-6 Kmet. He started 11 games as a junior last season after missing the first two because of a broken collarbone and caught 43 passes for 515 yards and six touchdowns.
Johnson fills a void in the secondary where the Bears were looking to complement Kyle Fuller. A first-team, All Pac-12 selection the past two seasons, he had two interceptions and a team-high 11 pass breakups as a junior last year.
Chicago came into the night with seven selections over the final two days of the draft. The Bears have a fifth-rounder (163), as well as two each in the sixth (196, 200) and seventh (226, 233).
The Bears had to wait a day to make their first pick because they did not have a first-rounder for the second year in a row. They dealt them to Oakland for star pass rusher Khalil Mack prior to the 2018 season.
The Bears have been busy in the offseason after going 8-8. They came into the year with Super Bowl hopes after winning the NFC North at 12-4, only to miss the playoffs for the eighth time in nine years.
They acquired former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles from Jacksonville to compete with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, after the No. 2 overall pick in 2017 struggled in his third season.
They also signed five-time Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham, hoping he can regain the form that made him a star and then kept stocking up at the position by taking Kmet, who is from suburban Lake Barrington.
The Bears also tweaked their defense, signing former All-Pro pass rusher Robert Quinn to take the pressure off Mack.
Even so, they still came into the draft with plenty of work to do.
The Bears sorely need more playmakers to go with receiver Allen Robinson and lift one of the league’s worst offenses. Help on the line was another priority after Chicago gave up 45 sacks and ranked near the bottom of the NFL at 3.7 yards per rushing attempt.
Even the defense – one of the NFL’s best the past few years – has holes. The Bears could also use a safety to complement Eddie Jackson with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix both gone.
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