There’ve been plenty of bold 2021 NFL Draft predictions in this year’s cycle, but none bolder than this one made by Mel Kiper Jr. On Thursday morning, the veteran draft analyst joined ESPN’s Get Up to fire off a scalding take.
With the second overall pick in the draft, the overwhelming consensus is that the New York Jets will select one of the talented quarterback’s from this year’s stacked pool (ie. Zach Wilson).
But, Kiper has other ideas.
Finishing second to last in NFL team receiving yards through 2020, there’s a glaring lack of receiving corps depth on the Jets’ roster — especially at the tight end position. New York’s No. 1 TE Chris Herndon collected just 287 yards and three touchdowns in 2020 — the next highest tight end option, Ryan Griffin, had just 86 yards on nine receptions.
“He can be that difference maker, something they didn’t have last year,” Kiper said. “They got nothing from the tight end position. He can be more than an in-line tight end. He can be a slot, a wide receiver, move him around. He can give them a dynamic in that offense that Sam Darnold’s never had.”
In the history of the NFL, there’s never been a tight end selected within the top four-picks. But, if there was one player to accomplish this historic feat, it’d be Pitts.
As a dynamic 6-foot-6, 246 lbs athlete, the former Gator can essentially function as a combo TE/WR option. During his breakout junior season in Gainesville, Pitts lit up the league with 770 yards and 12 touchdowns through just eight games.
Just last week on Kiper’s ESPN’s First Draft Podcast, the analyst said Pitts was the highest graded tight end he’s ever seen coming out of college. He lauded the Florida standout as a top-10 talent, but also suggested he could fall as low as the New York Giants’ No. 11 pick.
Where does Pitts land on your draft board?