As the NFL Draft creeps closer and closer, Cole Kmet finds himself battling nervous energy each day. That would be the case under normal circumstances, but with the coronavirus pandemic confining him to his parents house in Arlington Heights, his nervous energy has reached a different level.
"I try and work out a good amount during the day, but I’m not going to be working out eight hours a day, so there’s still so many hours to fill," Kmet said with a laugh. "It is kind of tough trying to find ways to redirect energy, but we’ve been finding ways in terms of board games, puzzles, that kind of stuff with the family, so it’s been good," he added.
After a standout junior season at Notre Dame -- Kmet caught six touchdowns -- the St. Viator alum declared for the NFL Draft with a season of eligibility still remaining. Though he participated in February's NFL Combine, most of the interaction he's had with NFL teams has been via phone calls and virtual chats. Since he's unable to make in-person visits to organizations, those are the next-best ways to communicate.
"For me, a big deal was the interview process, so obviously losing that face to face contact isn’t the best, but I think I’ve been doing well over the FaceTime interviews, the Zoom interviews, all that type of stuff." Kmet said. "So I think it’s gone well in that regard."
The 21 year-old tight end planned to be in Las Vegas when next week's draft begins on Thursday, but instead, he'll be one of 58 prospects participating in the NFL's virtual draft from his parents home.
"I’m just going to be at home with the people that are with me at home right now," Kmet said. "I think it’s going to be a little different from what I was expecting, but it’s not going to take away from that feeling I have when I get picked. I’m still really excited about it and I’m really looking forward to it."
Kmet has been told he could be picked as early as the end of the first round or midway through the second round. Some experts consider him the top tight end in the class.
"It’s all really unpredictable," Kmet said. "I’m just really hoping I get to a situation where I’m able to play and able to thrive in the position I’m at. I’m not too concerned – obviously I’d love to be a first round pick, that would be great, but whatever happens, happens," he added.
One team he's keeping an eye on? The Bears. Kmet grew up cheering for them, and the team has two picks in the second round.
"Obviously that’d be really cool, if I was able to go and get picked by Chicago," Kmet said. "That would be awesome and really, a dream come true for me. I know they’re looking for tight ends and stuff, so that’s always a possibility. That would be awesome, just a dream come true for me as a Chicago Bear fan growing up."
The NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 23rd and runs through Saturday, April 25th.