On the most recent episode of ESPN’s First Draft podcast, draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. continued that trend. When discussing the top receiver options in this year’s draft, Kiper compared Pitts to Hall of Fame TE Kellen Winslow Sr.
“I don’t think [I’ve ever had a tight-end this high on the Big Board],” Kiper said. “I mean I go back to Kellen Winslow Sr. [in the 1987 NFL Draft]. I scouted Kellen Winslow Sr. … at Missouri and [he] was a great player for the Chargers. And he had a very high grade when he came out. But when you really go back to tight ends, [Pitts is] a receiving entity, I don’t know how we can … we have to come up with a name for that combo [of receiver and tight end]. Because that’s what [Pitts is]. I just felt like putting him at five, with Jaylen Waddle there, but in terms of a true tight end I’m with you up there at five.
“And some people might have a little higher than that, some a little lower, but he’s certainly in the top 10. I think there is no debate about that. Will he go into top 10? Maybe, maybe not. I think the Giants are as far as he will drop, just because of the position and what they need and what other teams with other players may force up there with the quarterbacks.”
Standing 6-foot-6 and 246 lbs with a unique level of mobility — Pitts should be an intriguing asset for any franchise. His big body and unexpected quickness make him a combo WR/TE threat at almost any level of the field.
At 6-foot-5, 251 lbs, Winslow shared some of those same traits. Through nine seasons with the San Diego Chargers, Winslow collected 6,741 yards, 45 touchdowns and five Pro Bowl appearances. In a three-year stretch from 1980-1982, the elite TE earned three straight First-Team All-Pro honors (leading the NFL in receptions from 1980-1981).
Following breakout season with the Gators in 2020, Pitts’ draft stock has skyrocketed throughout the year. After collecting just 732 yards and six touchdowns through his first two years in Gainesville, the junior tight end notched 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2020.
Kiper’s mock draft currently has Pitts as the first TE off the board at No. 11 to the New York Giants. According to his list, only three receivers will hear their name called before the star Gator: DeVonta Smith (2nd), Jamarr Chase (3rd) and Jaylen Waddle (6th).
Draft night will kickoff on Thursday, Apr. 29.