Florida tight end Kyle Pitts is entering the NFL at the perfect time. With the league valuing pass-catching tight ends now more than ever, his projection as a wide receiver in a tight end’s body is what offensive coordinator’s dreams are made of.
In fact, many draft analysts have described Pitts as a generational talent, a term that is oftentimes abused due to overexcitement and infatuation with a prospect. But in Pitts’ case, it may be justified.
At 6’5 and 239 pounds with 4.46 speed, Pitts proved during the 2020 season that he’s an uncoverable offensive weapon who can abuse any defender, regardless of position, who’s charged with stopping him. He wins with size, speed, and route-running. Pitts tracks the ball well on downfield throws, wins in contested-catch situations, and can turn a short catch into a long gain because of his RAC ability.
There’s not much he can’t do, really. The biggest negative on his scouting report is in the run game, where he’s a willing yet average blocker. Think about that for a moment. Pitts is a competent player in the run game; he’s an average run blocker. And that’s the worst thing that can be said about him.
This leads us to an interesting and worthy discussion: just how high might Pitts get drafted?
Most mock drafts have Pitts falling outside the first five selections, and draft history would suggest that’s an accurate projection. Tight ends rarely get picked in the top 10, let alone the top five. It’s arguably rarer, however, for tight ends with Pitts’ ability to come around.
We know this much for sure: Pitts’ ceiling is the No. 2 pick. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be the first selection to the Jaguars but after that? All bets are off. The Jets — who hold the second overall pick — still have Sam Darnold on the roster and they’ve done a nice job adding some weapons to the passing game in free agency, namely big-ticket pass-catcher Corey Davis.
What better way to get the most out of Darnold than by giving him the top offensive weapon in this year’s draft too?
Pitts, Davis, and last year’s second-round pick, Denzel Mims, is a suddenly exciting trio of weapons for Darnold to target. And don’t forget about slot receiver Jamison Crowder, either. If Darnold is ever going to be a top-tier starting quarterback, he’d do it with that supporting cast.
If, however, the Jets decide the Darnold era is already over and choose a quarterback at No. 2 overall, the Dolphins at No. 3 make sense too.
Like the Jets and Darnold, the Dolphins have to invest in the supporting cast around their 2020 first-round quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa. And while conventional wisdom suggests Miami should draft one of this year’s talented wide receivers at No. 3 (assuming they don’t trade down, which is the most likely of all the scenarios), I’d argue the best ‘wide receiver’ on the board for the Dolphins will, in fact, be Pitts.
We’re only three picks into the 2021 draft and with the exception of the Jaguars at No. 1, Pitts makes an incredible amount of sense for two of those selections. And the list keeps going and going.
The Falcons at No. 4? Pitts is an immediate upgrade and instant impact player for their offense. The Bengals at No. 5? Whoa, baby, Joe Burrow to Pitts would be a thing of beauty. The Eagles at six? Yep. Pitts would be too good to pass up for an offense that needs weapons in the receiving game.
Trades will ultimately impact what happens in the top five, and with three legitimate top-five quality quarterbacks in this year’s draft, combined with the value quarterbacks carry in every NFL draft, it’s more than likely the first three players off the board will be passers.
But if there’s any player who can disrupt that narrative, it’s Pitts.