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Mel Kiper Jr. says he’s never ranked a tight end as high as Kyle Pitts

Kyle Pitts Florida tight end

There are a lot of extremely talented prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft, but Florida tight end Kyle Pitts might be the one unicorn in the class.

The 6-5, 239-pound receiving weapon for the Gators has drawn comparisons to many of the league’s top tight ends, with the most on-point comp being Darren Waller (Raiders). Waller had 107 catches for 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020.

So, yeah, the expectations for Pitts to make an impact as a pass-catcher are about as high as they can get.

Mel Kiper Jr. is all-in on Kyle Pitts

ESPN NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. may have set the bar even higher during a recent episode of his NFL Draft podcast, “First Draft.” He said Pitts has the highest ranking of any tight end he’s ever scouted for his big board.

“I don’t think [I’ve ever had a tight-end this high on the Big Board],” Kiper said. “I mean I go back to Kellen Winslow Sr. [in the 1987 NFL Draft]. I scouted Kellen Winslow Sr. … at Missouri and [he] was a great player for the Chargers. And he had a very high grade when he came out.

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“But when you really go back to tight ends, [Pitts is] a receiving entity, I don’t know how we can … we have to come up with a name for that combo [of receiver and tight end]. Because that’s what [Pitts is]. I just felt like putting him at five, with Jaylen Waddle there, but in terms of a true tight end I’m with you up there at five. And some people might have a little higher than that, some a little lower, but he’s certainly in the top 10. I think there is no debate about that. Will he go in the top 10? Maybe, maybe not. I think the Giants are as far as he will drop, just because of the position and what they need and what other teams with other players may force up there with the quarterbacks.”

The only thing stopping Pitts from being a top-5 selection is his position. Tight ends don’t traditionally come off the board that high, but they usually don’t offer the kind of skill set Pitts does either. Some draft analysts have suggested Pitts can be a Calvin Johnson-like receiving threat in the NFL, and while I’m not that high on Pitts’ receiving chops, I agree he has a chance to immediately become one of the most productive tight ends in the league.

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Check out where we have Pitts getting picked in our PFD Mock Draft 1.0.

Bryan Perez

Bryan is the founder of Pro Football Draft. His work has been featured on NBC Sports and USA Today. Former CFL scout.

Follow him on Twitter: @BryanPerezNFL