Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Darren Waller have ushered in a new age of receiving-threat TEs, following in the footsteps of Rob Gronkowski (who’s still around) and Jimmy Graham (who mostly isn’t). Next in line could very well be a prospect out of Florida that will go very high in this year’s NFL Draft. If you’re not yet acquainted with the phenom, allow me to introduce you to Kyle Pitts.
This is not just a tight end. This is a unicorn. This combination of size, speed, length, agility, hands, and route running is rare. If he were a wide receiver instead of a tight end, I could make a strong case for him being the best receiver in this class.
In only eight games this year, Pitts logged 43 catches for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns. He easily won the Mackey Award for best tight end in college football, but he did one better than that — he became the first tight end in college football history to be named a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which recognizes the most outstanding receiver in college football regardless of position.
Quite frankly, if it wasn’t for injuries holding him out of three games, it’s possible that Pitts would have been named a Heisman Trophy finalist. He was that dominant this season, including an absurd opening act against Ole Miss where he racked up 170 receiving yards and four touchdowns on eight catches. His 17.9 yards per reception this year puts him in elite playmaker territory, a full two yards per reception more than Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith (whom I love).
Today was Pitts’ pro day, so let’s talk about it. He crushed it. Absolutely destroyed it. First, his measurements: 6’5 5/8”, 245 lbs, 10 5/8“ hand size, 33 4/8” arm length, 83 3/8” wingspan. That wingspan, by the way, is quite spectacular.
Pitts is essentially the same height and weight as Hall of Fame wide receiver Calvin Johnson — they’re the same height, with Pitts weighing six pounds more than Johnson. At that size, he also showed off his speed, posting a ridiculous 4.44 40-yard dash. According to NFL Network, that 40-yard dash time was the fastest time by a player 6’5” or taller since… Calvin Johnson.
Kyle Pitts is special. The mismatch problems that he creates with his size, speed, ridiculous wingspan, and his wide receiver-level route running makes him arguably the most impactful player in this draft. In the University of Florida Pro Day media session (which I attended virtually, and which was a total clusterfuck session of two-plus hours with about an hour of dead time, coupled with audio issues, echoes, people not being muted, and scheduling nightmares… but I digress), Pitts was asked if the Atlanta Falcons had been in touch with him. He answered very directly that they have spoken twice before on Zoom, and he spoke with them today at his Pro Day, and they are scheduled to have another Zoom call soon. He said “I think they have real interest,” and that “it would be a dream to go top five and be the first non-QB drafted.” The Falcons have the No. 4 overall pick in the draft.
Get familiar with the name — Kyle Pitts is here to stay, and he’s poised to take the league by storm as early as his rookie season. This play-making weapon has all the potential in the world.