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TE Cole Kmet: 'I know Bears fans want a winner'

Just how great a need tight end was for the Bears is debatable.

Nonetheless, for an offense absent of substance or swagger in a trying 2019 season, perhaps tight end Cole Kmet is the player they need to ignite the unit from its hibernation.

"I know that Bears fans want a winner," Kmet, the Bears' first pick of the 2020 draft, said Friday, via the team website. "I know that because I am one."

Strong words at an introductory presser are a far sight from production on Sundays, but excitement from an offensive player not named Allen Robinson is welcomed for Chicago at anytime of the year.

In his junior campaign at Notre Dame, Kmet hauled in 43 receptions for 515 yards and six touchdowns (which all came after recovering from a broken collarbone). That kind of production at tight end would be welcomed for the Bears, who let Trey Burton go this offseason. Despite just five starts, Burton was the team's most productive tight end in 2019 with only 14 catches.

"I know they've been looking for a tight end to fit in the room," Kmet said. "And I know they just signed Jimmy [Graham] ... I know that coach Nagy likes to use tight ends in his offense, and he's looking for tight ends that can go in and compete and be able to execute his offense, so I know it was a need and I'm really excited to get in there and get going."

Kmet and Graham are now among 10 tight ends currently on the Bears roster, though that number will be cut down in a major way.

The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder models himself after the Buccaneers' newest tight end and future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski. Considering Gronk is seen by some as the greatest to ever play the position, there's worse role models.

"A guy I've always looked to was 'Gronk' and his physical style and play and being able to use his size at 6-6," Kmet said. "It's something that's unique and it's something I feel like I can do. His style of play is something I've tried to model after and that's kind of what I'm trying to emulate to be."

Without any first-round picks, Kmet's selection at No. 43 saw him become the first tight end of the draft taken and the Bears' first selection.

An Illinois native whose family is filled with Bears fans, Kmet might well be a perfect fit for the team. In the least, he's started off saying all the right things.

"My whole family, we grew up Bears fans," Kmet said. "So this is just unreal for us. It's a huge dream come true."

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