Kyle Pitts Fantasy: Pre-NFL Draft
The Florida Gators football program has quite the history. When it comes to NFL Draft prospects, the Gators have definitely produced more defensive talent over the past decade-plus, but tight end Kyle Pitts has an opportunity to change that narrative. In fact, a tight end from Florida has not been drafted in the first three rounds since Jordan Reed in 2013.
A first-round tight end? Well, you’ll have to go back even further to 2004 and Ben Troupe. We mention the first round because you can bet your mortgage that Pitts goes in the first round and perhaps even top-10.
Kyle Pitts Measurements
- 240 lbs.
- Age: 20
Pitts not only won the John Mackey Award in 2020 but dating back to 2000, he has the most receiving touchdowns of all past winners, catching 12 in just eight games.
NFL COMBINE RECAP
- 40 Yard Dash: 4.70 (High School)
- Bench Press: N/A
- Vertical Jump: N/A
- Broad Jump: N/A
- 3 Cone Drill: N/A
- 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.45
STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES
Pitts is arguably the best tight end-labeled prospect we’ve ever seen, posting a receiving grade of over 96, according to PFF. Additionally, Pitts posted an average of six yards after the catch. What we’re getting at is this—don’t be surprised if there comes a time in the future when Pitts tries to receive the wide receiver franchise tag as opposed to the notoriously cheaper tight end tag.
Pitts’s strengths are unmatched and he’s one of those prospects where it’s not a matter of what he can do, but what can he not do?
There are two weaknesses when it comes to evaluating Pitts for dynasty fantasy football. The first is out of his control: He’s a tight end. Of course, a savvy coach will realize Pitts is unlike any other and use him as a receiving threat, but there are still those coaches out there that have the mindset of “He’s a tight end?! Well then therefore he must block!”
That is something that is out of Pitts’ control, but for prospective dynasty owners, let’s hope that he doesn’t end up on that kind of team (thankfully the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are picking 32).
Going back to his blocking, that is Pitts’ weakest aspect of his game. However, he did improve from a 42.6 pass-blocking grade in 2019 to nearly 66 in 2020, according to PFF.
Again, sure, it’s always nice to have a tight end who can block well, but Pitts is still only 20 years old and will not turn 21 until around Week 5 or so. He can get there.
All in all, Pitts’s value will partially be tethered to what team drafts him and will utilize him like the freakish receiving threat that we know he is.
BEST FIT: WEST COAST / SPREAD OFFENSE
Going down the draft board, there are about four teams in the top-12 that stand out: the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, and San Francisco 49ers.
The Eagles could be in the market for a quarterback with the sixth overall pick, removing them from the equation. Should they opt to stick with Jalen Hurts, though, and take Pitts, he could theoretically be their top receiving threat.
The Panthers are sort of in the same boat with incumbent Teddy Bridgewater, but Pitts is a possibility. In a Joe Brady-led offense with Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore, and Christian McCaffrey, adding Pitts would be a tough offense to stop.
The Cowboys defense was horrific in 2020, so passing up someone like cornerback Caleb Farley could be difficult. You have to admit though—an offense with Dak Prescott (should he return), CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, Amari Cooper, and Pitts would be something of a galaxy brain offense.
Where it gets exceedingly interesting in the 49ers. Right now they have quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo who has certainly played better than we’ve seen of recent, but adding Pitts to a receiving group that features George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel would also allow for the 49ers to evaluate the artist also known as Jimmy G. If he fails with that group of receivers, it’s time to move on.
However, the 49ers’ offense pairs well with Pitts’s skillset. We know head coach Kyle Shanahan has a run-friendly scheme, but his offense also isn’t afraid to air it out downfield.
In the NFC West, there are some secondary threats, most notably Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, but Pitts can also out-maneuver press coverage, lining up against it on 40 snaps in 2020 and coming away with seven receptions that went north of 15 yards playing in the SEC.
Pitts will improve really any passing attack he joins, but with the right coach, that could also translate to high fantasy football values.
PRE-NFL DRAFT DYNASTY THOUGHTS
It’s not too often we get excited about incoming rookie tight ends, but Pitts has the opportunity and skill set to be one of the rare rookie tight end breakout stars.
For dynasty, Pitts could soon join the ranks of the Travis Kelce’s, the Darren Waller’s, and the Kittle’s of the world.
Looking ahead to rookie drafts, Pitts would be a first-round choice for me, in the sixth or seventh overall range, behind players such as Najee Harris, Javonte Williams, Travis Etienne, Ja’Marr Chase, and in the area of Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith. Should Pitts go top-12 in the 2021 NFL Draft and to one of the four teams listed above, expect your pre-draft dynasty stock to soar.
But again, let’s be honest—pray to the fantasy gods that the Buccaneers do not somehow wind up with him. For reference, check up on how O.J. Howard is doing.
A journalism graduate from the University of New Hampshire, Richard has written about fantasy football for nearly a decade, having previously contributed to Bleacher Report. Outside of fantasy football, Richard is in a metal band, TrueShot, and has a 10-year-old son. A fan of the Baltimore Ravens, Richard does not think Joe Flacco is elite but believes Jay Ajayi is still a future Hall of Famer.