Is Kyle Pitts the Next Calvin Johnson?

Read more on whether Florida tight end Kyle Pitts is the next Calvin Johnson


It is a word that is reserved for a select few. It was a word used to describe the man known as “Megatron.” The man, the myth, the legend ... none other than former Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, who will be enshrined in Canton this summer.  

At first suggestion, to even think there could be “the next Megatron” out there seemed preposterous to me. Well, that is until I turned on the game film of a young man named Kyle Pitts.  

Pitts is a tight end by trade, and quite honestly, I have not seen anyone as exciting at the position since another tight end captured my imagination from the University of Florida, Aaron Hernandez. 

The first time I saw Hernandez play I thought to myself, “Hall of Fame.” He was like a wide receiver playing in a tight end's body. He would have been a top-10 pick, had it not been for his myriad of off-the-field issues. 

Pitts does not carry the same baggage that will cause him to drop like Hernandez did. Pitts is a surefire top-10 pick. 

For my money, Pitts is the most sure thing I have seen in this year’s draft class to date. He excites me. I see some Shannon Sharpe in him, and I also see some Randy Moss in him, with how he plays the jump ball. 

Time and time again, Pitts showed how he can set up defenders, time his jumps and use his big ‘ole frame to out-jump defenders and high point the ball just at the right time, like an NBA player does midair while catching a pass and then dunking the basketball. 

Folks, greatness is not manufactured, and it is not taught. It is a thing of beauty that is to be admired and appreciated while it lasts. It is the thing we pack theaters and stadiums to behold. 

Please welcome Kyle Pitts to the National Football League. 

If I am Detroit, I would turn in the card at No. 7 with his name on it, like I was hitting a game-show buzzer. 

Pitts will be a nightmare for NFL defenses. At Florida against the highest levels of competition, he looked like a man amongst boys -- which is another hint at the kind of greatness I am talking about. 

This 2020 John Mackey Award winner finished 10th in the Heisman Trophy Award voting, as well, which is the highest any tight end has finished in 43 years. 

Pitts dropped only four passes in 2019, and according to Pro Football Focus, he was the only player in 2020 targeted over 65 times without a drop. 

Guys like this are fun to watch and easy to write up. I can feel the excitement within me as I type the words, and Pitts will do the same thing to you, too, every time Detroit’s offense takes the field -- if the Lions draft him. 

I can not even imagine him and T.J. Hockenson in the same offensive sets and the problems that it'll cause opposing defenses. It conjures up memories of Rob Gronkowski and Hernandez playing together in New England.  

Pitts makes a catch against Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Jordan Battle and linebacker Christian Harris.

Pitts makes a catch against Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Jordan Battle and linebacker Christian Harris.

TE Kyle Pitts, Florida - 6-foot-6, 246 pounds; 4.45 (40-yard dash time) 

Grade: A+ (Blue-chip player and elite) 

Kelly’s draft board: First round (top 10)  

Scouting Report

Elite receiving ability in a tight end's body. Tall, lanky and athletic-looking frame with long arms. Tough. Excellent receiving techniques. Very polished and smooth-looking. Long, easy strider with a lot of football speed. He has a knack for route-running, and shows a very good understanding of routes. Knack for finding soft spots in coverages. Lethal ability to run quick inside-out routes, plant his foot and gain positioning. Dominates the middle of the field at the intermediate-to-deep levels. Home-run hitter who can run away from a defense and also get behind it. Can pick up yards after the catch. Has an uncanny ability to sell and set up defenders, and he creates tremendous mismatches for defenders in man and double coverages. Can look like he is toying with smaller and less agile defenders. Uses frame very well to create leverage and an advantage. 

Great instincts and ball skills. Has this “natural feel for things.” Shows consistent ability to adjust to balls and tremendous ability to jump just at the right time and use his height advantage to high-point passes to make grabs. Sure-handed. Demonstrative. Makes big plays, and lets everyone know about it. Shows tremendous confidence in hands and abilities. Big-play tight end whose production steadily increased all three years at Florida. He put up 17.9 yards per reception and 12 TDs in 2020. 

Tremendous upside. Not much of a blocker, but gives effort. Surefire, Pro Bowl-caliber player and very possibly a Hall of Fame talent. A once-in-a-generation-type player.  

Need I say more? Send the card in, and get ready for the playoffs with Pitts on your team. 

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