The Florida Gators are set to host NFL scouts, coaches, and front office personnel at the indoor practice facility on Wednesday for the program's pro day. Although 14 former Gators declared for this year's draft, most if not all eyes will be on one: Tight end Kyle Pitts.
Pitts has emerged as one of the most enthralling prospects in the entire 2021 NFL Draft. Some analysts and draftniks argue if he should stick at tight end or play wide receiver at the next level, but no one can deny that Pitts offers generational receiving ability and athleticism for a player of his size.
The question is: Just how athletic is Kyle Pitts?
We'll find out via his pro day athletic testing results, and have collected a set of projections from the AllGators staff on what Pitts will run in the 40-yard dash and jump in both the vertical and broad jumps.
40-yard dash: 4.48 seconds
Vertical jump: 40.5 inches
Broad jump: 136 inches (11 feet, four inches)
Everyone is focused on what Kyle Pitts will run in the 40, rightfully so. However, I'm fascinated by the results of his broad jump. I think he will make history for that drill among tight ends.
The three longest broad jumps by tight ends in the history of the NFL Combine all came in 2017: Virginia Tech's Bucky Hodges jumped 134 inches at 6-foot-6, 257 pounds, Miami's David Njoku jumped 133 inches at 6-foot-4, 246 pounds, and Iowa's George Kittle jumped 132 inches at 6-foot-4, 247 pounds.
I was always more impressed with Pitts' outward leaping ability to make catches in traffic and with awkward body angles than his vertical jump. Not to say he doesn't jump pretty high in the air, but his 6-foot-6 frame and long arms can make it seem like he's higher off the ground than he really is. With so much length in his legs, explosion off the ground, and really impressive balance, I'm confident his broad jump will be more impressive.
When it comes to the 40, I have Pitts coming in a tenth of a second ahead of Jared Cook (4.49) and two-tenths of a second below Rob Housler (4.46). Cook ranks seventh among tight ends all-time in the 40-yard dash, while Housler ranks fifth, and both stood near Pitts' size at 6-foot-5, 246 pounds (Cook) and 248 pounds (Housler).
Maybe I'm selling Pitts' 40 short after the video of his 4.46 surfaced on social media. Pro days tend to favor prospects too, so I'm probably being a bit too conservative here. Hopefully, my aggressive broad jump prediction makes up for it.
40-yard dash: Around 4.43 seconds
Vertical jump: 41.5 inches
Broad jump: At least 130 inches
Pitts has already become the talk of the town recently thanks to his impressive pre-pro-day 40-yard-dash time that was shared on social media. They clocked him at an impressive 4.46 seconds. That alone should give at least a glimpse into what he could potentially do. During Florida’s pro day on March 31, Pitts will be able to showcase what his officially unofficial time will be.
Taking a look back on what tight ends with the physical makeup of Pitts have done in the past, as far as athleticism a couple of players come to mind. New York Giants tight end Evan Engram ran an impressive 4.42-second 40-yard dash at the 2017 NFL Combine at 6-foot-3, 234 pounds. Now, while Engram is shorter than Pitts is unofficially listed at 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, the two share the same dynamic physical makeup.
Someone incredibly similar to Pitts in stature, former NFL tight end and Florida Atlantic University tight end Rob Housler was listed at 6-foot-5, 248 pounds and he ran a 4.46 40-yard-dash – exactly the same number as Pitts during his mock run.
I believe Pitts will run somewhere in between those two, around a 4.43 40-yard dash. He has showcased plenty of speed on the gridiron and it would be an upset to see him not perform better than every tight end in the class of 2021.
His vertical jump will be one of the most highly-anticipated performances for a tight end to date. With Pitts’ skills and athletic ability, it should not come as a shock that he would be able to jump out of the gym so to speak due primarily to what he showcased on the field for Florida over the past two seasons. He routinely could climb the ladder, getting up over a defensive back or linebacker in coverage.
Comparing him to the aforementioned players, Housler jumped 37 inches, while Engram jumped 37 inches. I fully expect Pitts to out jump both players based on how he performed during his playing career at Florida. He has shown an ability that is unlike any tight end that has come out in a long time.
With that, I believe Pitts will jump similarly to former Penn State tight end and current Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki: 41.5 inches.
The broad jump is something that varies widely for all tight ends. A measure of burst, it would surprise many to see Pitts, who has shown a great ability to burst off of the line of scrimmage, not be successful in this drill. One of the top tight ends in the NFL, San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle leap at an impressive 132 inches.
While Pitts may not excel or beat all of these player’s scores, it should be reasonable to expect him to at the very least approach it. I guesstimate that Pitts will jump at least 130 inches, just enough to land as one of the top tight ends, without meeting the very top of former Cincinnati tight end Adrien Robinson at 135 inches (at his pro day in 2012).
40-yard dash: 4.47 seconds
Vertical jump: 42 inches
Broad jump: 133 inches (11 feet, 1 inch)
Pitts is one of the most athletic specimens to come out of the college game in quite some time, if not ever. Pairing his 6-foot-6 frame with the ability to beat defensive backs or coverage linebackers in nearly all facets of the game, his pro day numbers should reflect the athletic prowess he showcases on the field.
One tight end who I aligned my numbers for Pitts with was a prospect who impressed with his absurd numbers in every category back in 2006, Maryland product Vernon Davis. Correlating directly to his play — as one of the most athletic tight ends the game has seen (especially when in San Francisco) — Davis recorded a 4.38 40, 42-inch vertical and 128-inch broad jump.
However, I felt that the 40-yard dash number was an unreasonable expectation for Pitts, given the recent time that was released and the fact Davis holds the best 40 of all time for tight ends.
Clocking a 4.46 in a video that surfaced on social media just a few days ago, the benchmark for what Pitts is capable of was set around the mid to high 4.4s. Therefore, I believe Pitts sees a similar number on Wednesday, clocking just a tenth of a second higher for a 4.47.
Next is where I believe his numbers begin to correlate with Davis’, recording an identical 42-inch vertical and a slightly better 133-inch broad jump (sandwiching himself between David Njoku and George Kittle).
All in all, with the most impressive attribute of Pitts being his ability to move the way he does for someone so large, a top-10 outing in all three categories before draft time rolls around could have multiple franchises chomping at the bit to acquire arguably the best pass-catching tight end prospect of all-time.
40-yard dash: 4.45-to-4.48 seconds
Vertical jump: Over 38.5 inches
Broad jump: Over 125 inches
The question isn't whether Pitts will test well at pro day, it's a matter of how well.
Pitts ran a sub-4.50 40-yard dash last week while training for the day, leaving fans and scouts fantasizing about what he could provide to their favorite NFL roster.
While running a sub 4.50 40 isn't uncommon, it is for someone of Pitts' size, and isn't something even former Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki did in 2018 during his combine (he ran a 4.54, which was in the 96th percentile for tight ends in combine history.)
I think Pitts will officially break the 4.50 threshold, and turn in a time anywhere between 4.45 and 4.48.
Pitts should test well in the broad jump and vert too. While I don't think he'll match Gesicki's insane 41.5 inch vertical, Pitts should easily leap above 38.5 inches.
I'd also expect Pitts to broad jump more than 125 inches, or about 10 feet 4 inches, with ease.