The quarterbacks may take center stage in this draft, but tight end Kyle Pitts is more interesting and has the highest potential fantasy value. Including for this year. His draft stock continues to rise, and he’s speculated to go as high as No. 3 overall.
Pitts became the starting tight end for Florida as a sophomore and earned the First Team All-SEC team that year. His 54 receptions led the team.
As a junior, he played only eight games due to a concussion/facial injury but he dominated with 12 touchdowns as their primary receiver. He ended with three 100-yard games last year, including seven catches for 129 yards and a score against Alabama in his final college game.
Pitts won the John Mackey Award as the top college tight end. He was the first tight end to be named as a Fred Biletnikoff award finalist that is given to the top college wide receiver. He skipped the Cotton Bowl and announced for the NFL draft.
Weight: 245 pounds
40 time: 4.44 seconds
The ex-Gator generates tremendous interest in the draft. He offers the rare combination of size and speed that recalls Calvin Johnson. He’s a pass-catching tight end that can line up anywhere on the field. He’s already drawn comparisons to Darren Waller and Travis Kelce.
Kyle Pitts Florida stats (2018-2020)
|Year||Games||Catch||Yards||Avg.||TD||Runs||Yards.||TD||Total Yards||Total TDs|
The highest-drafted tight ends in the last ten years were Eric Ebron (2014 – 1.10) and O.J. Howard (2017 – 1.19) along with five other first rounders. The earliest selected tight ends in NFL history were Vernon Davis (2003) and Kellen Winslow Jr. (2004), who were both sixth-overall selections. There is a possibility that Pitts resets that record.
If you think his college stats look low, realize that Kelce only totaled 875 yards and ten touchdowns in his three years at the University of Cincinnati. Waller ended with 971 yards and nine scores in his three years at Georgia Tech. Pitts was phenomenal last season.
- “Generational talent”
- Mismatch against smaller corners and slower linebackers
- Rare mix of size, speed and athleticism
- Can play any position
- Excellent route runner
- Superior body control when he goes up for a catch
- Red-zone threat
- Not only fast but can vary route speed
- Excellent change-of-direction skills
- Wingspan still reaches poorly thrown balls
- Elite acceleration off line
- Strong, soft hands no matter angle of pass
- Uses speed, agility, and hands to control the defender
- Wins contested catches
- Great work ethic
- Not built for in-line blocking
- Concussion in 2020
- Not an aggressive blocker
The fantasy outlook for Pitts is exceptionally high in an offensive position that serves up very few difference-makers. And while tight ends typically all but disappear as a rookie, Pitts should be a contributor even as a rookie. Potentially, his first-year role could be significant depending on which offense and passing scheme that he joins.
The consensus is that he’s not only a first-round talent but a slam dunk Top-10 and maybe even a Top-5 pick this year. While previous top picks like Vernon Davis and Kellen Winslow Jr. never produced elite stats, Pitts is considered a better prospect than either.
He enters the NFL when offenses are starting to feature receiving tight ends as primary targets. Like any rookie, his outlook depends greatly on where he ends up and who throws him passes. But no team spends a Top-10 or Top-5 pick without expecting to optimize the player’s talents.
His perceived value has him as the subject of trade rumors that will last up until the NFL draft. Quarterbacks are expected to dominate the first five picks but Pitts could end up in that group, possibly as the subject of a draft trade. He’s speculated to end up with the Falcons, Dolphins, Lions, Panthers and Cowboys. His first-year fantasy value takes a hit if he lands in Atlanta or Dallas since they are already receiver-rich.
As a fantasy dynasty pick, he could be argued to be the top rookie for 2021. The lifespan of a tight end is much longer than a running back and his path to being a Top-5 player in his position if far greater than any of the 2021 rookie wideouts.