Gators' TE Kyle Pitts Ranks Top 25 in Mel Kiper's 2021 'Big Board'

Demetrius Harvey

With the 2020 NFL Draft squarely in the rear-view mirror, many are already getting ready for the next evaluation process.

ESPN's Mel Kiper is one of the draft experts already getting started on the next year, evaluating talent to be taken in the 2021 NFL Draft. Yesterday, Kiper released his "Way Too Early" Big Board for the 2021 draft class, which includes one Florida Gators football player in the bunch.

Kiper lists Florida tight end Kyle Pitts No. 23 overall in his latest big board which shouldn't raise too many eyebrows.

Here is what Kiper had to say about Pitts:

Yes, that makes two tight ends in my top 25 after we didn't see a single first-round TE in 2020. Pitts had a really good 2019 season, catching 54 passes for 649 yards with five touchdowns. With quarterback Kyle Trask back, Pitts has a chance to ascend to being the top prospect at the position. He needs to improve as a blocker, but you can't deny his pass-catching potential. And in an NFL that loves big, movable tight ends, Pitts is the perfect fit.

Pitts is the second tight end listed, behind Penn State's Pat Freiermuth (No. 21), and has all the talent to go even higher in the draft due to his incredible athleticism, and ability to fit within any offense in the NFL.

Last season, Pitts hauled in 54 passes for 649 yards, and five touchdowns - that much will change heading into 2020 as Gators quarterback Kyle Trask becomes even more comfortable with his tight end, and Pitts continues to develop into a complete player.

A deadly seam player, Pitts takes advantage of mismatches a defense gives the Gators throughout the season and is able to go one-on-one against nearly every defensive back or linebacker he faces, his size, 6-foot-6, 239 pounds, demands it.

Recently, members of the draft media have knocked Pitts down a tad due to his blocking ability - or in their minds, lack thereof -, however with an extra year of strength and condition from Florida strength and conditioning coach Nick Savage, and a year under new tight ends coach Tim Brewster, Pitts should be fine in that area.

Some in the draft media have been far more bullish on the Gators tight end, however:

This past draft, only one tight end was selected before the third round in Chicago Bears tight end Cole Kmet - formerly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish -, zero tight ends were taken in the first round for the first time since 2016, however that much should change with Pitts next season.

The Gators should rely on Pitts a lot more this season after the team lost five key offensive players via the draft in wide receivers Van Jefferson, Freddie Swain, Tyrie Cleveland, Josh Hammond, and running back Lamical Perine. Time will tell how far he can soar as the draft inches closer.

Comments (3)
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Brandon Carroll
Brandon Carroll

This is one of the better tight end classes we’ve seen in quite some some time in terms of abundancy at the position. There is a legitimate argument that three prospects (Pat Freiermuth, Brevin Jordan and of course Kyle Pitts) could work their way into the first round with solid play this season. With Pitts being even more involved in the Gators offense as a pass catcher than he was last season, there is a good chance he raises his draft status even more given his elite athleticism for someone his size. I’d bet on him being the first TE off the board next April.