2021 NFL Draft: Kyle Pitts the leader so far for TE1 status

The New York Giants select Kyle Pitts at No. 11 in this 2021 NFL mock draft (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
The New York Giants select Kyle Pitts at No. 11 in this 2021 NFL mock draft (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

Florida Gators tight end Kyle Pitts is the early leader for TE1 status in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The 2020 NFL Draft was certainly not known for its depth at the tight end position.

The 2021 NFL Draft, on the other hand? This class could have a substantial and riveting competition for TE1 status over the course of the 2020 season.

The current leader in the clubhouse for TE1? It has to be Florida Gators tight end Kyle Pitts.

Pitts had a breakout season for the Gators in 2019 with 54 receptions, 649 yards, and five touchdowns. Including this gem:


Pitts is the ideal modern NFL tight end

The NFL no longer requires tight ends to be 6-foot-6, 265 pounds, and tremendous in-line blockers. At least not in every offense.

Although there are some tight ends that are cut from the old-school cloth, the NFL has a place for big slot types of players and Pitts is going to be able to transition to the big leagues right away in that regard.

Although he’s slightly undersized at 240 pounds, Pitts holds his own as a blocker at this point and can do enough in that regard to warrant top 15 status in the 2021 NFL Draft.

There are plenty of tight ends coming into the NFL year after year who have plenty of straight-line speed and can play that big slot position, but Pitts is a lot more than that. He excels playing in-line, he can play H-back, he can flex out wide and beat cornerbacks that way, or he can play in the slot.

There is no limit to what he’s capable of doing because he has rare movement skills for a big-bodied receiving tight end.

The Florida Gators had some of the most refined receiver prospects coming out in the 2020 NFL Draft in terms of their footwork, route running, and well-rounded skill sets. Pitts has been working with the receivers and is going to come into the NFL with a great understanding of what it takes to excel at a variety of positions.

You can usually find some ‘clunkiness’ to a tight end’s game in terms of their athleticism. That’s not the case with Pitts, who moves around on the field like a smaller wide receiver. Yet he has the catch radius of an NBA small forward.

dark. Next. 2021 NFL mock draft update

Even just two seasons into his development, it’s clear that Kyle Pitts is the real deal and the type of prospect who will be extremely high on 2021 draft boards.