The worst kept secret in the NFL Draft is that Urban Meyer and the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick. Hell will freeze over if the Jaguars go with any other player at No. 1 overall but what happens with the New York Jets and the second pick is anyone’s guess.
Florida has never had a player selected No. 1 overall and you have to go back to 1950 when the Chicago Bears took Florida running back Chuck Hunsinger at No. 2 overall to find a Gator drafted second. It’s happened just twice, both running backs.
Can Kyle Pitts tie the school record for the highest pick? Some experts think so.
“Kyle Pitts is so good that the scouts I talk to that not only will he be the best tight end on your football team, barring four of five teams he’d be the best receiver on your football team, rookie year in the NFL,” Cowherd said. “Obviously he’s not as good as Davante Adams in Green Bay, DeAndre Hopkins in Arizona, there’s a handful that he’s not better than, Mike Evans, maybe (in) Tampa. But, he’ll be the best tight end in the league in his first or second year. Tight ends have never meant more to teams. Travis Kelce was second in receiving yards last year as a tight end. But this idea that you would box yourself in and not draft a tight end first or second is just stupid. The only reason you wouldn’t is fear of being mocked.”
It’s true if you look at the NFL that the tight end position has never been more valued as teams look for these hybrid-type players that can play both on the line, split out wide, or even as an h-back. The NFL game has changed, putting a premium on points, passing, and offense, and having a tight end like Rob Gronkowski, George Kittles, or Kelce is a gamechanger. At tight end in this draft, it’s Kyle Pitts, a wide margin, and every other tight end. Pitts has transcended the position and is being compared to the top pass catchers, regardless of position.
However, it’s not totally crazy for a tight end to be picked early in the draft and it’s happened before. Tight ends have been top-10 picks more than 20 times and there’s a shortlist of guys that have been taken inside the top five, which Pitts should be able to join this year.
Speaking on an ESPN draft podcast, long-time draft analyst Mel Kiper couldn’t recall having a tight end rated as high as Pitts, having to go all the way back to Kellen Winslow Sr.
Pitts is everything the NFL wants in a tight end in this era. Take it from his position coach, who also coached a future Hall of Famer in Antonio Gates.
“He’s generational,” Brewster said of Pitts. “He’s just absolutely different in his skill sets and the things that he can do.”
Now, the question is, where does Pitts go. He’s arguably a top 5 player in the draft but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be drafted in the top five.
Pro Football Focus released a mock draft on Wednesday that had the Jets taking Pitts second overall. It might be a stretch, but Cowherd makes good points about Pitts. Who care if you get mocked for taking a perceived reach on Pitts that high if you end up with the best tight end in the NFL in a year or two and one of the best receiving targets in the league?
The Miami Dolphins are another team that has been linked to Pitts and they have picked at No. 3 and No. 18.
Pitts is almost a sure-fire top-10 pick and when he runs and goes through drills later this month during Florida’s Pro Day his stock should be solidified. The only question left is how highly does one team rank him on their board and do one of the teams in the top five just decide to pull the trigger on one of the best players available even if it isn’t a need for their immediate roster?
First-round draft picks for Florida Gators
Florida Gators first round picks since 1970