By Alex Kurpeski
If you’re an avid follower of College Football then you may already know about Kyle Pitts. Pitts, a superstar tight end for the Florida Gators, has been praised as one of the best receivers in the NCAA this season, with several NFL scouts projecting him to be a top-10 pick this spring. While what we’ve seen from Pitts’ tape definitely supports the hype surrounding him (don’t worry, we’ll get into this in a bit), his production at the NFL level will depend heavily on how he is used in the framework of his team’s offense.
A gigantic target with 4.4 speed and the blocking ability to be an immediate starter for any NFL club, calling Pitts a special player would be an understatement. The Gators have lined him up as a traditional tight end less often this season, getting experimental when they feel like it by splitting him out wide. While he’s capable of being the traditional three-point stance tight end who hangs out on the LOS, Pitts needs to be used more like Travis Kelce than say…Kyle Rudolph in order to maximize his potential. The term “matchup nightmare” gets thrown around often with tight ends, but in the case of Pitts, it’s accurate. He’s too big and too strong for defensive backs, while also being far too fast and athletic for ordinary linebackers.
The Kyle Trask-Kyle Pitts duo could not be stopped 😤
THREE TDs for that connection 🔥 pic.twitter.com/OZSd0S0zN1
— ESPN (@espn) November 28, 2020
As we’ve seen previously with highly-drafted tight ends like Eric Ebron, O.J Howard, and Tyler Eifert, talent will only get you so far, especially if a team refuses to embrace the position as a go-to option in the passing game. For Pitts to maximize his potential, here are some realistic landing spots for him in the 2021 NFL Draft — and some that could be disastrous.
Good Fit: Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have a good history with tight ends, having groomed Jason Witten into one of the best players at his position by funneling targets down his throat for 15 straight years. Though Witten is gone now, Dalton Schultz has been the TE14 in PPR this season largely due to Dallas’ reliance on the position. While he’s not a bad player by any means, Schultz is nowhere close to Pitts in the talent department.
Look at “wide receiver” Kyle Pitts blocking at the LOS pic.twitter.com/fhkCV9slLS
— Billy (@BillyLong07) October 3, 2020
Taking a tight end fifth overall may be a luxury pick for a team with plenty of needs elsewhere, but this system could allow Pitts to become one of the best players in the league thanks to the wealth of talent around him. Sure, Schultz is a fine, cheap option and Blake Jarwin will be back next year too. But Pitts is a generational player. Jerry Jones is no stranger to going BPA, so don’t write this one off yet.
Bad Fit: Carolina Panthers
Matt Rhule and Joe Brady do not exactly scheme up looks for their tight ends. While Ian Thomas has been a disappointment due to reasons other than the Panthers’ scheme, they haven’t exactly used his skillset properly either. Like Thomas, Pitts is a receiver first and foremost.
Effortless 22 yard pickup – Kyle Trask ➡️ Kyle Pitts pic.twitter.com/psHZe1tt69
— libgator (@lib_gator) November 28, 2020
On an offense filled with talents like Christian McCaffrey, D.J Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Robby Anderson, it’s hard to see this as a great landing spot for any tight end, let alone Pitts. The Panthers will have bigger needs to fill with their top-10 pick anyway, as Teddy Bridgewater is likely not the long-term solution at QB.
Good Fit: Washington Football Team
What’s more impressive? The fact that converted quarterback Logan Thomas has managed to produce a top-20 fantasy campaign in his age-29 season? Or the fact that Washington has managed to get decent tight end production out of a former quarterback for almost a full season? Ron Rivera’s team relies heavily on a great tight end, as evidenced by the success of Greg Olsen during his time in Carolina. As a route-runner, Pitts is about as good as there is — and that’s among all positions, not just tight end!
"tight end" kyle pitts can play any position he wants pic.twitter.com/9QRasTRQxQ
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) December 6, 2020
This might be the optimal landing spot for Pitts, who could become the go-to target in Washington alongside Terry McLaurin, forming a Travis Kelce/Tyreek Hill-like duo for this offense. Washington’s offense is perfectly designed for a player like Pitts, who at 6’6, 245 lbs is around the same size as Thomas, but with far better speed and receiving ability.
Bad Fit: Miami Dolphins
Though the Dolphins could be intrigued by Pitts’ potential with the pick they received from Houston, we’ve already seen them mismanage one incredibly talented tight end (Mike Gesicki). Tua Tagovailoa has yet to impress me as an NFL starter and it’s hard for me to see him doing many favors for Pitts next season.
Kyle Pitts was a hotly debated topic last night on @DevyDebate. Someone may have declared he'd have the greatest rookie season for a TE! Looks like someone is going to be rocking a #Buckeyes jersey, or singing some song we've never heard of lol. @sharpereview @devydeets pic.twitter.com/ii7So8SQdk
— matthew bruening (@SportsfanaticMB) December 4, 2020
While the idea of pairing Pitts and Gesicki together sounds intriguing, we’ve seen what happens when a team stacks the tight end position (Tampa Bay) without the intention of integrating both players into the game plan. For the sake of both Pitts and Gesicki, I beg Chris Grier not to do this.
Good Fit: New England Patriots
The Patriots are a team that both needs a tight end and knows how to use one. Pitts could be the Gronk 2.0 for this team, serving as a true No. 1 target for whoever the QB is. Though New England drafted a pair of tight ends in 2020 (Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi) Pitts is superior to both of them already. While trading up for a QB may be the best idea, I’m sure Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels would love to have a player like Pitts lined up on offense next season.
Just the latest proof that Kyle Pitts can play ball. pic.twitter.com/5WiseRfeP7
— SEConCBS (@SEConCBS) December 5, 2020
Bad Fit: Arizona Cardinals
I love watching the Cardinals’ offense. But I hate how they use their tight ends. The Air Raid concept simply does not cater to the position. While the idea of having Pitts, DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald (maybe), and Andy Isabella spreading the field for Kyler Murray sounds incredibly enticing, Arizona would be better suited to address needs elsewhere.
Kyle Trask's best trait is his ball placement/accuracy but he understands how to use his eyes to create throwing windows
Each snap is TE Kyle Pitts vs Derek Stingley. Watch Trask eyes initially making sure to clear/hold backside LB – then the excellent location on in-breakers pic.twitter.com/epXGHExg3h
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) December 5, 2020