Despite signing Jimmy Graham, the Chicago Bears still need help at tight end. Graham is 33 years old and on the tail end of his career. Trey Burton spent the end of 2018 and most of the 2019 season injured. Both of those players might not even be on the roster in 2021. Additionally, the other tight ends on the roster combined don’t make one good tight end.
The Bears still need to go through the draft to find a tight end. That prospect could add depth in 2020 and step up in and become the starter in 2021. Here are five tight end prospects Chicago should target in the draft:
5. Devin Asiasi, UCLA, 6-foot-3, 257 pounds
The Chicago Bears could draft a tight end with one of their two second-round picks. They could, however, decide to make a trade and look for a tight end later in the draft. General manager Ryan Pace has made at least one trade in every draft and this draft will be no different. With no picks in the first, third, or fourth rounds, expect some wheeling and dealing from Pace.
If they go with a tight end later, Devin Asiasi is a good pick. He is a physical tight end who could use that physicality to create separation at the top of the route. Not only did he have success in short-to-intermediate routes but also deep routes. He does a good job of delaying his release to get downfield.
Asiasi has the ability to do it all for the Bears offense. He can run different routes and be an effective blocker as well. Many expect him to go in the middle rounds but he could be a steal there for the Bears.
4. Thaddeus Moss, LSU, 6-foot-2, 250 pounds
Thaddeus Moss is the son of NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss. Like his father, Thaddeus makes some outrageous catches. He has an incredible catch radius, has great hands and has the ability to make big catches in the red zone.
Unlike his father, Thaddeus doesn’t possess incredible athletic abilities. He is slow so he won’t make big yardage plays, though he’ll make the big catch when you need a first down to extend a drive. He has the ability to position himself to make it difficult for the defender to break up the pass. The tight end is the quarterback’s security blanket and Moss is a perfect example of that.
With his physical abilities, Moss does a good job as a blocker. He moves bodies around and opens holes.
Moss might not be the burner that his father was but he makes the same crazy catches. He is a physical player who helps the offensive line with his blocking. He’d be a good asset for the offense.
3. Hunter Bryant, Washington, 6-foot-2, 248 pounds
The Chicago Bears could use Hunter Bryant as another one of their wide receivers. He has the ability to run a variety of routes and his burst and speed create separation and gives the quarterback a bigger window to target. He is a threat downfield, averaging 16.4 yards per catch in his college career.
Head coach Matt Nagy could move Bryant around to create mismatches. He could line up inline, out on the slot, or even in the backfield. That adds flexibility to the offense.
Bryant doesn’t possess a lot of lower body strength. That hurts him when he tries to block. In the Bears’ situation, however, he’d be in a good place. He’d be a backup, adding depth to the tight end unit. He doesn’t have to go in and be the everything player for the Bears. Give him this offseason and next with NFL-caliber conditioning program and he’ll add that strength and improve his blocking to be a more complete tight end when he gets a chance to start in 2021.
2. Adam Trautman, Dayton, 6-foot-5- 255 pounds
Pace loves to target players from small schools who he thinks are undervalued. Sometimes he overvalues them, like in the case of Adam Shaheen.
Adam Trautman is the perfect Pace prospect. Playing at Dayton, not many scouts saw how good he was. At the end of the 2019 season, those same scouts could just say that he performed well because of the limited competition.
They could say that until he started going up against the bigger and better competition in the postseason all-star games. During the Senior Bowl practices, he was one of the biggest eye-opening players. He did a great job of catching all types of throws and did well at blocking. He went from unknown prospect to possibly being the top tight end picked in the draft.
Trautman has an excellent body to perform well in the NFL. He has the size, strength, speed, and hands to succeed at the next level. His basketball skills show when he boxes out the defender and leaps for the ball like he’s grabbing a rebound.
Like Bryant, the Bears could move Trautman all over the field. At Dayton, he played inline, at the slot, in the backfield, and even out wide. Chicago can create mismatches all over the field with him.
Trautman’s high motor is impressive. He is a relentless blocker and plays hard even when he isn’t involved in the play. As hard as he plays, he’ll be a fan favorite with the Chicago Bears fans.
1. Cole Kmet, Notre Dame, 6-foot-6, 262 pounds
Cole Kmet is the most NFL-ready tight end in the draft. He is huge and gives the quarterback the target he needs. Additionally, he helps make up for a bad throw by having a big catch radius, being able to fight the defender to make the catch, and being able to adjust for the ball effectively.
It is incredible that Kmet is as good as he is since he barely played his freshman season (he had just two catches for 14 yards all season). He came in as a dual-sport athlete, having also played on the baseball team. He’s still learning to be a more effective blocker but is already a pretty good blocker.
Kmet is a physical player who can gain extra yards after the catch. He fights for extra yards and runs over defenders and uses his physicality in his blocking as well, being a willing blocker. Also, he has a high motor and plays hard for all 60 seconds.
As mentioned before, Kmet is still learning the position. He might not make many headlines in his first season in the NFL but he’ll eventually be a good starter and make a few Pro Bowls before his career is over. If the Chicago Bears use their early pick on a tight end, Kmet is the one to go after.