It’s pretty well established the the New York Giants have needs on the offensive side of the ball, particularly at receiver.
Florida tight end Kyle Pitts has been one of the most dominant receiving threats in college football this season, at times proving to be too much for even top cornerback prospects. He also presents one of the most interesting evaluations for scouts of any draft prospect in this year’s class.
While Pitts is listed at tight end and frequently plays the position in Florida’s offense, he also frequently lines up as a true receiver, playing out of the slot, as the flanker, or as Florida’s “X” receiver. Considering how dangerous he is down the field as a pass catcher, evaluators will need to answer the question “Is he even a tight end?”
Depending on that answer, Pitts could be one of the most dangerous weapons in the draft for the right team.
Prospect: Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)
Games Watched: vs. South Carolina (2020), vs. Georgia (2020), vs. Alabama (2020)
Height: 6060 (6-foot-6)
Weight: 240 pounds
Games Played (starts): 24
Yards (YPC): 1,492 (14.9 per catch)
Games Played: 8
Yards (YPC): 770 (17.9 per catch)
Best: Size, athleticism, route running, ball skills, versatility
Projection: A starting receiver with scheme versatility
Florida tight end Kyle Pitts possesses an uncommon blend of size, athleticism, route running, and ball skills for the position. Pitts has excellent length for a tight end at 6-foot-6, and enough size to align as an in-line blocker when necessary.
Pitts is an extremely versatile player who lined up at in-line and detached tight end, H-back, slot receiver, flanker, and X receiver in the Florida offense. His versatility and ability to line up across the offensive formation allows him to create and exploit a variety of athletic mismatches, presenting numerous problems for the defense. Pitts shows a good release off the line of scrimmage, using his size, quick feet, and body control to get off the line of scrimmage with minimum wasted time or motion, even against press coverage. He is also a savvy route runner, routinely varying his speed and changing his stride length to disrupt defensive backs’ timing. Pitts is able to run a full route tree from any offensive alignment, and has a rare ability for a player his size to sink his hips and break suddenly.
Pitts does a very good job of presenting a clear target to his quarterback, working back to the ball, using his frame to shield the ball from defenders, and extending to maximize his considerable catch radius and pluck the ball out of the air.
Pitts shows good competitive toughness and is willing to brave the middle of the field. He routinely extends to make catches, even when he knows violent hits are coming.
Pitts is a willing blocker, but not a very good one. He doesn’t hesitate to get his hands on defenders, but he lacks the mass and play strength to be more than a pest for front seven defenders. Pitts also appears unsure about his technique at times, blocking with poor leverage and hand placement, as well as needing a beat before engaging defenders when he is pulling across the formation.
Pitts likely projects best as a wide receiver with scheme versatility at the NFL level. While Florida called him a tight end and asked him to line up in-line and block often enough to justify the title, any play in which Pitts is blocking and not running a route is a waste of his potent receiving ability.
His game more accurately mirrors big receivers like Mike Evans or Plaxico Burress, who are able to use their size to overwhelm cornerbacks and safeties, while simply being too athletic for defenders their size to match. His ability to play each wide receiver position would allow an offense to manipulate alignments and force defensive backs into roles in which they aren’t comfortable, such as asking a big outside corner to play inside or risk matching a smaller slot corner up against the 6-foot-6 Pitts.
Pitts is a good route runner, and not just for a player his size. He shows a good understanding of route concepts and uses his route running to generate separation and maximize receiving windows — as well as using his own massive catch radius to make plays which coverage players simply can’t defend. He also has the ability to shed tackles, lengthen his stride, and pick up good yards after the catch.
Pitts’ versatility and experience at tight end can be used by offensive coordinators in misdirection, such as helping to sell the run in play-action passes or screen plays. That being said, he will have the most impact as a receiver. In fact, there is an argument that despite his designation as a “tight end” Pitts should be reckoned as the drafts’ “WR2” behind Ja’Marr Chase.
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