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Ranking the Bears’ small army of tight ends by things that don’t matter

Who has the best name? Who has the best jersey number? Someone has to answer the tough questions about the Bears tight ends.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, Ryan Pace, seriously what the hell is up with all the tight ends?

Even after parting ways with Trey Burton earlier in April, the Chicago Bears already had NINE (!) tight ends on the roster before the 2020 NFL Draft. That included one of the team’s biggest free agency additions, Jimmy Graham, who signed a two-year, $16 million contract with Chicago in March.

So what position did Pace, the team’s general manager, make his top priority in the draft? Tight end, of course.

The Bears drafted Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet with the 43rd overall pick (their first of the draft) bringing the team’s tight end total to 10. While Dax Raymond, a 2019 undrafted signee, was waived immediately after the draft to drop the number back to nine, the Bears still have more tight ends than any other team in the league.

It’s not quite as reckless a roster-building strategy as it sounds. Chicago drafted Adam Shaheen in the second round in 2017 and signed Burton to a four-year, $32 million deal in 2018. But when those two struggled with injuries last season, the Bears didn’t have a single tight end finish the year with even 100 receiving yards, the first time that happened to the team since 1970.

An overhaul at tight end was necessary (even if it’s not going to save the Bears from their lackluster quarterback situation). So who’s the best of Chicago’s horde of tight ends? Let’s rank them in every category that doesn’t actually matter.

Bears tight ends ranked by name quality

  1. Jesper Horsted
  2. Adam Shaheen
  3. Demetrius Harris
  4. Ben Braunecker
  5. J.P. Holtz
  6. Jimmy Graham
  7. Eric Saubert
  8. Darion Clark
  9. Cole Kmet

It was an absolutely no-brainer at the top. JESPER HORSTED?! That’s a first-ballot Hall of Fame name. The second name wasn’t hard to pick either. Shoutout to all the Adams out there.

I have no strong feelings about everyone ranked between three and eight. Shuffle however you’d like. But Kmet belongs last because no name should start with a K and an M.

Bears tight ends ranked by name alphabetically

  1. Ben Braunecker
  2. Darion Clark
  3. Jimmy Graham
  4. Demetrius Harris
  5. J.P. Holtz
  6. Jesper Horsted
  7. Cole Kmet
  8. Eric Saubert
  9. Adam Shaheen

It was a tight race for fourth place, but Harris edged Holtz and Horsted for the spot. At the bottom, Shaheen was barely beat out by Saubert. It’s just too bad for Shaheen that the ranking was by last name instead of first name.

Bears tight ends ranked by weight

  1. Jimmy Graham (265 pounds)
  2. Cole Kmet (262 pounds)
  3. Adam Shaheen (257 pounds)
  4. J.P. Holtz (255 pounds)
  5. Eric Saubert (253 pounds)
  6. Ben Braunecker (247 pounds)
  7. Jesper Horsted (237 pounds)
  8. Demetrius Harris (230 pounds)
  9. Darion Clark (220 pounds)

Once upon a time, Graham requested the NFL change his position to wide receiver. It made sense given he lined up in the slot or out wide on over two-thirds of his snaps with the Saints. Maybe he wouldn’t have been denied if he wasn’t such a large fella.

Bears tight ends ranked by collegiate distance from Chicago

  1. Cole Kmet — University of Notre Dame (93 miles)
  2. Demetrius Harris — University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (99 miles)
  3. Adam Shaheen — Ashland University (325 miles)
  4. Eric Saubert — Drake University (337 miles)
  5. J.P. Holtz — University of Pittsburgh (462 miles)
  6. Jesper Horsted — Princeton University (789 miles)
  7. Ben Braunecker — Harvard University (987 miles)
  8. Jimmy Graham — University of Miami (Florida) (1,385 miles)
  9. Darion Clark — University of Southern California (2,023 miles)

Kmet is the hometown kid. He grew up in Lake Barrington, a Chicago-area suburb in Illinois. Even when he left the state to play for Notre Dame, he was still less than 100 miles away from Chicago.

Clark, on the other hand, played college football about as far from Chicago as one can possibly get in the contiguous United States.

Bears tight ends ranked by jersey number quality

  1. J.P. Holtz (No. 81)
  2. Adam Shaheen (No. 87)
  3. Ben Braunecker (No. 82)
  4. Jimmy Graham (No. 80)
  5. Demetrius Harris (No. 86)
  6. Darion Clark (No. 44)
  7. Jesper Horsted (No. 49)
  8. Eric Saubert (No. 43)

At the time of publication, Kmet (who wore the very respectable No. 84 at Notre Dame) doesn’t yet have an NFL number so he’s left out of this one.

There are some unwritten rules when it comes to picking a jersey number. Avoiding anything between 40 and 49 is generally a good guideline to follow. So everyone in the 80s is ahead of those in the 40s.

However, Clark came really close to leapfrogging a couple of those players in the 80s for picking No. 44 just because it’s cool to see another D. Clark wearing that number. Alas, rules are rules. Always avoid the 40s.