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Cole Kmet

TD-poor tight ends

How high should everyone be on Cole Kmet? On the one hand, despite playing in a lesser passing game, he caught 60 passes last season -- only 11 tight ends caught more. On the other hand, he was absolutely dismal in terms of scoring touchdowns.

Kmet caught 60 passes last season, which is something about 8-10 tight ends per season, on average, have been able to do. Respectable for a second-year tight end in the league's 25th-ranked passing game. But Kmet didn't score any touchdowns all year. That's something a 60-catch tight end hasn't done since Steve Jordan in 1985.

Since 2000, not only is Kmet the only tight end to catch 60 passes without scoring, he's one of only seven to catch fewer than 2 TDs. But another 2021 player, Kyle Pitts, also achieved that lowly feat, and Pitts is being drafted as a top-5 player at the position. If he can reasonably shoot up to 6-8 touchdowns this season, why not Kmet?

Table shows all the 60-catch tight ends since 2000 to catch just 3 or fewer TDs. Four of those players (in bold) are from 2021.

2012Jason Witten, Dall.14711010399.53
2019Darren Waller, Oak.11790114512.73
2006Kellen Winslow, Cle.120898759.83
2016Greg Olsen, Car.12980107313.43
2015Jason Witten, Dall.104777139.33
2010Chris Cooley, Was.1267784911.03
2017Delanie Walker, Ten.1117480710.93
2019Tyler Higbee, LAR896973410.63
2016Jason Witten, Dall.95696739.83
2000Chad Lewis, Phil.1106973510.73
2010Benjamin Watson, Cle.1026876311.23
2014Heath Miller, Pitt.916676111.53
2009Zach Miller (ASU), Oak.996680512.23
2000Kyle Brady, Jac.946472911.43
2007Owen Daniels, Hou.946376812.23
2020Noah Fant, Den.936267310.93
2006Randy McMichael, Mia.966264010.33
2021Tyler Conklin, Min.87615939.73
2005L.J. Smith, Phil.1076168211.23
2002Shannon Sharpe, Den.886168611.33
2009Jason Witten, Dall.12494103011.02
2016Dennis Pitta, Balt.121867298.52
2004Eric Johnson, S.F.1178282510.12
2005Tony Gonzalez, K.C.1167890511.62
2015Zach Ertz, Phil.1127585311.42
2011Kellen Winslow, T.B.1237576310.22
2002Jeremy Shockey, NYG1287489412.12
2021Mike Gesicki, Mia.1127378010.72
2001Shannon Sharpe, Balt.1147381111.12
2008Owen Daniels, Hou.1017086212.32
2012Jermichael Finley, G.B.876166710.92
2015Heath Miller, Pitt.81605358.92
2008Chris Cooley, Was.1118384910.21
2005Jermaine Wiggins, Min.92695688.21
2021Kyle Pitts, Atl.11068102615.11
2006Jason Witten, Dall.906475411.81
2020Evan Engram, NYG1096365410.41
2016Eric Ebron, Det.856171111.71
2021Cole Kmet, Chi.936061210.20

The big change in Chicago is that Jimmy Graham is gone. The veteran caught 11 touchdowns for Chicago the last two seasons, and most of those looks should now go to Kmet. Opportunity counts for a lot, and he wasn't getting them the last two years.

I don't think he'll zoom up to 10 TDs or anything, on a team that won't necessarily throw more than 20. But another 60-70 catches and maybe 5 TDs looks reasonable. Decent mid-round choice at the position, I think.

--Andy Richardson

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