I won’t be bias I promise. As a Gator fan, this guy has been an absolute joy to watch over the last two seasons. He showed what he was capable of in 2019, and in 2020 he was unstoppable. Now the number one tight end on every draft board around the country, i’ll take a look at his career so far, and where he might land in the NFL
Kyle Pitts – TE Florida
Kyle Pitts is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He played tight end and defensive end in high school, and was invited to play in the 2018 Under Armour All-American game, which is a huge event for high schoolers to show what they can do in front of many college scouts.
Pitts was graded a four star recruit with a 0.93 rating, making him the 5th tight end in the nation that season.
He attracted all the right attention when it came to his recruitment, and had Alabama on his trail. Other schools included Baylor, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, UCLA etc.
But it was Florida he chose, and he stayed committed even after Jim McElwain was fired, and Dan Mullen took over. Quite often with college football, recruits will de-commit after a coaching change, as it’s the head coach they build the relationship with a lot of the time. Pitts stuck with the Gators, and it turned out to be a pretty good decision for him I’d say.
Kyle Pitts spent three years with the Gators, and one of the most important things to note here, is how young he is. Pitts will enter the NFL draft still just 20 years old, and the best tight end in the nation. He still has so much room to grow, and there’ll be tight end focused teams around the league drooling at the thought of bringing him in.
After a promising season in 2019, Pitts was the number one connection for Kyle Trask and the Gators offence in 2020. He’s so versatile, that in 2019 he lined up too many times as a receiver to qualify for the tight end of the year award, known as the John Mackey award. So in 2020, he made sure he claimed it.
Because of that versatility, he’s a match up nightmare for every team he lines up against. He’s part of the new breed of tight ends, that are built less stocky, faster, and able to run like a receiver would. There’s a likeness to Evan Engrams style of play, but make no mistake about it, Pitts is a better prospect coming out of college.
His sure handedness makes him a very reliable target, and he does it consistently across all aspects of the game. He’ll high point with the best of them, going upstairs to haul a ball in whether there’s a defender, or two, draped all over him or not.
But he’s not just a big body capable of being consistent at the point of the catch. He will beat you out of the gate, and will run away from you with the ball in his hands. He’s fast, very fast for a tight end, and runs like a receiver. For an NFL team, he’s likely to be a hybrid tight end, and will line up as a receiver at times I’m sure.
The problem this creates for opposition defences can’t be understated. If you don’t account for him properly, and have a linebacker on him, he will punish you. If you try and cover him with a non athletic safety, who plays backed up against him, he’ll punish you there too, and even with a corner on him, he can beat you with his routes. He particularly shines in the red zone. Pick plays, and bump and go routes will destroy coverage, and he’ll walk into the end zone that way. Or alternatively, you can throw it up for him in double coverage, and he’s likely going to have the highest point against defenders.
I’ll say it now, if Pitts lands somewhere where he can build a long term trusting relationship with his quarterback, he’s going to be a star. He has all the traits you could want in a college tight end prospect, and he’s not even 21 yet.
Incredibly safe hands, a whole collection of catches secured in coverage, and a highlight tape full of running away from defenders and slipping tackles too. Pitts sure did earn his money this 2020 season, and he and Kyle Trask had one of the best quarterback to tight end/receiver relationships in all of college football.
He’s 6 foot 6, 240 pounds, and if he runs a 40 yard dash at some sort of combine/pro day, people will begin to talk about him even more.
You would think that all of these traits result in him being a pass catching tight end who can’t line up in a three point stance on the line, or block when called upon. But he’s very capable of doing so, and not afraid of it either.
Shoutout to strength and conditioning coach at Florida is due. Coach Savage’s transformations of the Florida athletes is amazing, and he’s one of the best in the game at what he does. He helps to have these young men incredibly well prepared for the next level, and Pitts condition and athletic prowess is just another testament to that.
Kyle Pitts is a quiet guy, not a big trash talker, unless you start dishing it out to him first, and then he’ll punish you. He’ll work incredibly hard, and I’m looking forward to seeing him dominate in the NFL. I’m very high on his draft stock, Florida Gator or not.
The obvious landing spot for Pitts is New England, because of course, the history of great tight ends, and the way in which New England use them, is very well documented. The Patriots pick at 15, and if he’s there the Patriots won’t pass. The question is will he go before they get the chance?
Looking at the draft order, the Patriots might get lucky due to the fact that teams ahead have other needs and/or ‘capable’ tight ends already. Pitts is a luxury that somebody is going to get very lucky to have.
If he was going to go anywhere else ahead of New England, I’d suggest maybe Dallas at 10, but they need offensive linemen as a priority. Which is the same situation for the Chargers at 13, and the Vikings at 14. I can’t help but feel like Pitts is going to fall perfectly into the Patriots lap.