National Football League

Florida tight end Kyle Pitts might be the most talented prospect in the NFL Draft

April 16

By Paige Dimakos
Special to FOX Sports

Quarterbacks are always the belles of the ball when it comes to the NFL Draft, and that's especially true in 2021.

But the best overall player coming out of college often isn’t a passer.

While it’s hard to imagine any team passing on uber-prospect Trevor Lawrence — and the Jacksonville Jaguars certainly won’t when they select No. 1 overall on April 29 in Cleveland — the first non-quarterback to come off the board could (and should) be Florida tight end Kyle Pitts.

Calling Pitts a tight end is too limiting. The phrase "offensive weapon" is en vogue and a better descriptor, but what does that really mean? Is he a wide receiver? A tight end? A big slot?

Quite frankly, he’s all of the above.

With sure hands and a wide catch radius, Pitts erases mistakes as a pass-catcher. His skill set allows even inaccurate throws to result in positive plays for his team. He’s extremely quick and agile for a player his size (just under 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds), with the run-after-catch prowess to match. He has the separation skills of a top receiver, and he’d easily be mistaken for one if not for his large frame.

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Kyle Pitts caught 43 passes for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in just eight games last season. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Pitts is the ultimate mismatch-creator who will be to blame for many sleepless nights for NFL defensive coordinators. How can you consistently cover a player of his size and speed?

"He's an elite tight end, and he's an elite wide receiver," Florida coach Dan Mullen said last month at Pitts’ pro day. "He's a unicorn, and the only way you can defend a unicorn is with another unicorn."

Good luck finding that second unicorn.

While Pitts’ calling card is that "offensive weapon" role, he isn't completely devoid of blocking ability. It’s not a strength of his game, but Pitts can hold his own as a run-blocker at times. Consistency has been an issue; however, he was fine in 2020 in this regard. As a pass-blocker, he has been a bit better, but one could argue that every passing play he’s in to block is a waste of his — and the play’s — potential.

The name of the game for NFL offenses is creating mismatches, and no player in the 2021 class gives teams a better chance to do that than Pitts. The 20-year-old is a dynamic game-breaker who should hear his name called by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell among the first half-dozen picks.

The Atlanta Falcons (No. 4 overall), Cincinnati Bengals (No. 5), and Miami Dolphins (No. 6) should all be in play for the Gator. Pitts will be a tremendous boost to whichever offense he joins and should make an immediate impact as a rookie.

Paige Dimakos, CEO of The Draft Network and host of the TDN Fantasy show, is a contributor to FOX Sports. Follow her @The_SportsPaige on Twitter and Instagram.

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