Kyle Pitts is one of the most interesting prospects in this draft class. Despite being listed as a tight end, Pitts’ skill set is more like that of a wide receiver. Standing at 6’6”, 240 pounds, Pitts would be an intriguing weapon to add to any offense.
Pitts amassed 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, earning him the Mackey Award, which is given to the nation’s best tight end. Pitts was a matchup nightmare for SEC defenses all season long. His reach and speed are uncharacteristic for traditional tight ends. Most tight ends are large, slower blockers that occasionally catch passes within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Of the few hybrid-style tight ends in the NFL, they do not have the blocking ability to be fully effective in pro-style schemes. Kyle Pitts, however, is different from any other tight end prospect that the NFL has ever seen.
Size is Pitts’ most important attribute. He is taller than anyone that has or will ever guard him. His reach extends his target radius to a nearly unguardable size for any cornerback, linebacker or safety. Pitts effectively out jumps defenders, making 50/50 balls seem as if they are 80/20 in favor of the offense. If the quarterback can put the ball in the general area of Kyle Pitts, he will catch it.
During the college recruiting process, Pitts ran a 4.7 second 40 yard dash. This is quick for a tight end, but slower than other hybrid tight ends like New York Giants TE Evan Engram, who ran a 4.42 at the NFL Combine. However, Pitts will likely have a faster time at Florida’s Pro Day, as his in-game speed is much faster. He frequently outruns defenders and creates long and explosive plays.
Throughout the draft process, people have become enamored with Pitts’ ability to line up at tight end, slot receiver and on the outside and be an effective playmaker from any spot on the field. However, his blocking ability is often overlooked. Hybrid tight ends like Pitts, like Evan Engram, are often poor blockers. Pitts is not. He effectively blocks in the run game against defensive ends and linebackers without extra help from a fullback or offensive lineman. This allows Pitts to fit into any scheme at the next level.
In mock drafts, I have seen Pitts selected as high as 4th overall to the Atlanta Falcons and as low as 12th overall to the San Francisco 49ers. Pitts is truly a wild card in this draft, as any team can benefit from selecting an offensive weapon like him. While he likely will not be selected by the Jaguars or Jets at #1 and #2, Pitts could hear his name called at any point after that on draft night. I do not expect him to fall out of the top 15.