Kyle Pitts began his high school career as a quarterback. At his Pro Day last week, he measured in with the wingspan of an offensive lineman and ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash like a wide receiver. Needless to say, the 6’6″ tight end is going to hear his name called early in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Pitts put himself on the NFL radar with 54 catches for 649 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore. Then, last year, he took his game to a whole ‘nother level. In 13 games, he reeled in 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns. That was good for a 17.9 yards per catch average — a major leap from his previous 12.0 ypc. Pitts even placed as a finalist for the Fred Biletnikoff award, which goes to the top wide receiver in football.
The Florida product profiles as a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Pitts is too fast for most linebackers and he’ll likely outstretch most cornerbacks on deep routes. His aforementioned 40-yard-dash time will only boost his stock further — most evaluators expected him to land somewhere in the high 4.5 range, which still would have been impressive for a player of his size.
On the flipside, there are questions about Pitts’ blocking ability, but he could improve in both of those areas over time. At 245 pounds, there’s ample room for Pitts to bulk up, and his 83-inch wingspan provides a solid base for pass and lead blocking.
In terms of pure talent, NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah ranks Pitts as the second-best prospect in this year’s class, behind only Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. LSU’s JaMarr Chase — who captured the Biletikoff trophy as a sophomore in 2019 — sits behind him at No. 3. So, where will Pitts land? The Florida product says that the Falcons have been showing interest in him and they’d be well within range with the No. 4 overall choice.
“They were saying that they have interest in me,” Pitts said. “After today, we’ll get on another Zoom and they’ll try to learn more about myself. I feel like they are pretty interested.”
It’s been decades since a TE went in the top five. Kellen Winslow Jr. and Vernon Davis came close, but they were taken No. 6 overall in 2004 and 2006, respectively. A few weeks ago, the Falcons were expected to target a quarterback. Now, in the wake of the 49ers’ move up to No. 3, they may have to go in another direction. Pitts could very well be the pick, forming an impressive 1-2 TE combo with Hayden Hurst.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.