NFL Evaluator on Taking Kyle Pitts High: 'He's the Best Player, so Get over It'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2021

Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, center, is escorted off the field after he was injured during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Kyle Pitts is set to become one of the highest-drafted tight ends in NFL history, leaving some to wonder whether investing a top-10 pick at the position is a proper use of a high draft pick. 

Others think the handwringing is a little much. 

"He's the best player, so get over it," one NFL talent evaluator told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.

Pitts is expected to be in the conversation as high as No. 4 to the Atlanta Falcons, and it's a virtual certainty he'll be the fifth tight end since the turn of the century taken inside the first 10 picks. If he is taken at No. 4, he would be the highest-drafted tight end in the common draft era.

Riley Odoms, who went fifth in 1972, holds that distinction.

Pitts is arguably the most complete player in the 2021 draft class. The 6'6", 246-pound tight end has elite size, high-end receiver speed and hands to go along with underrated blocking skills. He recorded 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, firmly establishing himself as college football's best tight end.

"I would just say probably a hybrid-type thing," Pitts said of his expected NFL role on the Brother From Another podcast. "You know, being able to do everything on the field, being able to be in-line, hipped off, backside, playing receiver, in the bunch, outside. So just hybrid means just everybody, everywhere."

Pitts will have to contend with the shaky history of tight ends taken inside the top 10. There have been nine tight ends taken in the first round of the past 10 NFL drafts. While none of them have been huge busts, they also haven't produced many superstars. None of the tight ends have been named to more than two Pro Bowls.

Correlation is not necessarily causation; most of these tight ends went to unsettled quarterback situations, which instantly limited their ceilings. Pitts is the type of talent who should instantly contend for Pro Bowl consideration, provided he finds the right situation.