Teams looking to transform their tight end position in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft need to look no further than Kyle Pitts. A freak of an athlete who knows how to play the position, Pitts just isn't the clear-cut, undisputed top tight end in this draft, he's one of the top prospects, period. And after no tight ends went in the first round in last year's draft, Pitts will change that come April 29, and quickly.
(This profile is one of 230 featured in the Athlon Sports 2021 NFL Draft Guide. With in-depth scouting reports on the top prospects, position rankings, and more, no source will have you better prepared for draft day. Click here to get your copy.)
Kyle Pitts Draft Profile
He’s big and he’s fast, but it’s his burst and rare change-of-direction ability that make Pitts a force. He has a suddenness at the snap you don’t often see from a player his size — he moves like a much smaller man. That allows him to get on defenders quickly, where he consistently creates separation. He’s also a savvy route-runner who understands leverage when setting up defenders. He consistently won even against cornerbacks at the collegiate level, including several who have NFL futures. He has the speed to pull away from defenders up the seam and on deep crossers, delivering the big play, and he competes after the catch with the ability to break a tackle and pick up YACs by the chunk. He’s excellent high-pointing the ball in contested-catch situations, especially in the red zone; he has a great feel for ball-tracking. He’ll put in the effort as a blocker and should improve as he adds more strength.
Pitts had a few too many drops at Florida, and a lot of them came on in-breaking routes when he took his eyes off the ball before securing it. As a blocker, he’s going to get pushed around early. He’ll put in the effort, but the refinement isn’t there as far as technique and pad level — after struggling against collegiate defenders, he’ll be in for a rude awakening against full-grown men.
There have been plenty of tight ends who fall under the “freak” category athletically, but few have shown the advanced understanding of the position’s nuances like Pitts. He’s a true matchup nightmare — too big for cornerbacks, too fast for safeties — and should make an immediate impact. He brings star potential even if he never comes around as a blocker.
Final Grade: Top-10 pick