Jalen Pitre, Safety, Baylor: 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Senior Bowl, Baylor S Jalen Pitre. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
Senior Bowl, Baylor S Jalen Pitre. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /

There has been a noticeable influx of talent at the wide receiver position in the past couple drafts, this is leading to teams making a more concerted effort to land players that can defend these threats on the outside. Let me introduce you to my 2022 NFL Draft scouting report on Jalen Pitre.


Name: Jalen Pitre

School: Baylor

Position: Safety

DOB: June 3, 1999 (22 years old)

Height: 5’10 3/4”

Weight: 196 pounds

Wingspan: 73 1/4”

Arm: 30 7/8”

Hand: 9 1/8”


Jalen Pitre started his football career at Stafford High School in Texas. He was a standout athlete, playing both sides of the ball at a high rate. Pitre always had his nose in the play, leading to this insane stat line as a senior: 83 tackles (59 solo), seven tackles for loss, six interceptions, four fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles and a sack.

This secured a three-star rating for Pitre, which led to offers from both Houston and SMU. He instead chose Baylor. Soon after committing to the Bears, the Art Briles incident came to a head. No one would have blamed Pitre for looking elsewhere but instead he doubled down and decided to stay loyal to the school.

Pitre got immediate playing time as a true freshman due to an exodus of talent in the program. His play was up and down, as can be expected for a player so young. In 2018, Pitre played in all 13 games but was limited to only one start. He later redshirted in 2019 following an injury.

Pitre had a fire lit under him to prove himself as an impact player and it showed when he returned for his redshirt junior season. He looked like an entirely different player, becoming well rounded in every facet of the game during his time away. In nine starts, Pitre grabbed a spot on the AP First-Team All-Big 12 by leading the team with 60 tackles. To show his growth in the passing game, look no further than his two pick-sixes.

He decided against entering the 2021 NFL Draft and instead returned to Baylor. It is hard to imagine but he improved yet again. He won a slew of awards that include First-Team All-American, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, and a second straight appearance on First-Team All-Big 12. Pitre set career highs in total tackles (75), tackles for loss (18.5), passes defended (7), sacks (3.5) and forced fumbles (3).

This will sound like a weird mix on the surface, but he really struck me as a cross between Darius Leonard and Elijah Molden while studying his tape. When you look closer you see that Pitre can do a little bit of everything. He lined up in the box a majority of the time, but also showed the ability to stay with pass catchers down the field and impact their chances at making a successful play from the slot. Let’s dive deeper and take a look at what makes Jalen Pitre one of the most intriguing players in the entire 2022 NFL Draft pool.

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Baylor Safety Jalen Pitre

Best Traits

Versatility – The ability to be “position-less” as a defensive back is becoming more and more valuable with the amount of uniquely talented pass catchers coming into the league, and the 2022 NFL Draft is no different. This includes the speed demons in the slot, the massive bodied tight ends and the fleet-footed running backs out of the backfield. Pitre has a rare blend of strength and athleticism for his frame and is able to do well against virtually any assignment. This blend also shows up as a run defender. Pitre consistently brings the pain when he is barreling down on a ball carrier.

Motor – Jalen Pitre has one of the strongest motors of any player I’ve ever evaluated, and of the best in the 2022 NFL Draft. He simply never takes a play off, always giving 110% even late into games. This former Baylor star has a sixth-sense for the ball and is actively pursuing each play until the whistle is blown. You cannot teach the flare that Pitre plays with, he will be an immediate tone setter for whichever locker room he lands in. He uses this energy to unload some of the biggest hits you will ever see.

Instincts – Pitre is a plus athlete. He isn’t the fastest and isn’t the strongest but the effort he gives oftentimes makes up for it. Considering how much he lined up on the line of scrimmage, he has developed elite play recognition skills. He has plenty of sideline-to-sideline mobility but really relies on his instincts to read plays, helping him beat the ball carrier to the spot.. Pitre does well reading the quarterbacks eyes and following the flow of the offensive line to help him diagnosis play actions and screens.

Athleticism – As mentioned before, Pitre displays above-average lateral agility. He is rangy in coverage, covering more ground than expected with his slight frame. The burst he has off the snap as a blitzer is one of the single best traits that any prospect has. His timing is impeccable and I foresee defensive coordinators designing some really fun plays around Pitre’s athleticism. One other place that this shows up is his closing speed. There were some plays on tape that he seemed to be completely out of, but the next thing you know, you see Pitre making the tackle out of nowhere.

Playmaker – It is hard to equate this for defensive players at times, but all you have to do is watch Pitre play for five minutes and you will agree with his title as a game-changer. Pitre frequently makes the most important plays of the game, many of which shift momentum to his squad. Whether it be defending passes downfield, surprising the quarterback with a well timed blitz, or returning interceptions for the house for a touchdown.

Needs Improvement

Fundamentals – Jalen Pitre is one of many players that primarily plays off of “vibes” rather than sound technique. For example, the legendary motor that lies within him can be a detriment to his team when he over pursues and takes poor angles on tackle attempts. Pitre’s ambitions to make every play is admirable, but there are times where it is okay to let someone else make the tackle rather than blowing a tackle and — in doing so — taking your teammate out of the play. “Hero-ball” is not a term that is given to many defenders, but this fits like a glove for Jalen.

Size – Admittedly, there’s not a whole lot that Pitre can do to make himself a larger person. He wears his current weight very well and plays much bigger than he actually is. It will be interesting to see how he fares against NFL-sized bodies each play. I have worries that he could be taken out of plays by not getting off blocks. He will really have to hone his fundamentals to continue making up for it.

”Tweener” – I said before that smart NFL coordinators view versatility as a positive. However, not everyone subscribes to that notion. Pitre is viewed by some as too small to be an effective box safety and too raw in the pass game to stick with polished route runners. It would go a long way if Pitre made it a priority to master a single trait so he can kill the tweener label that’s likely to come in the 2022 NFL Draft process.

Final Thoughts

Jalen Pitre’s versatility is my favorite part of his game, with his infectious energy being a very close runner-up. I view the ability to do multiple things as having a leg up on others at the position, and thus do not hold it against him. I agree that his fundamentals and overall technical prowess need refined. I also acknowledge that his size could cause some trouble, but I would trust an NFL mind to put Pitre in advantageous positions that will utilize his traits in the best way possible. I would feel comfortable taking Jalen in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, as he lands squarely in my top 25 prospect rankings.