Some significant bits of information emerged from the University of Florida’s star-studded Pro Day:
Tight end Kyle Pitts is built like a pass rusher, runs like an X receiver and has arms like Inspector Gadget.
And if he slips to the Miami Dolphins at No. 6 — which is far from certain — general manager Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores would have serious interest in taking him.
Flores made the four-hour trip to Gainesville to get a close look at Pitts, the 6-5, 245-pound tight end who clocked a 4.44-second 40-yard dash Wednesday.
And before Pitts slipped inside after a great day of work, Flores sought him out.
“Me and him did talk,” Pitts told reporters on a Zoom call. “We talked for a little bit. He said we’ll get back on the phone this week. I feel like I did pretty well performing. He said I was doing pretty well. I PR’d [set a personal record] in everything I was training for. I guess the next step is the draft. Putting my head down, being back in football shape. I was in Combine shape. Now it’s getting ready for the next level.”
That next step will almost certainly include a home address in either South Florida, Atlanta or Cincinnati.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah ranks Pitts — who averaged 17.9 yards per reception and caught 12 touchdown passes in 2020 — as the draft’s second-best player, regardless of position.
Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN tweeted Wednesday that “Kyle Pitts is my highest-graded tight end EVER.”
But Florida coach Dan Mullen had the best description Wednesday.
“He’s kind of like a unicorn,” Mullen said. “The only way you can defend a unicorn is with another unicorn. So if you don’t have one on defense, you have a problem.”
It’s hard to find a comp for Pitts because he’s so unique. His wingspan is 83 3/8 inches (yes, that’s almost 7 feet), which is the largest of any tight end in two decades. He played inline tight end, in the slot and split out wide at UF.
Imagine if Calvin Johnson could play with his hand in the dirt. That’s the closest comparison we have — and the reason Pitts has a great chance of being the first nonquarterback to come off board.
The Dolphins could have guaranteed landing Pitts, but passed up that opportunity when they moved from third to sixth. Now, they are the mercy of the Falcons (who could take a quarterback at four) and Bengals (who need major help on the offensive line).
Pitts’ performance Wednesday might have been enough to convince the Falcons to roll with Matt Ryan and take the unanimous All-American tight end.
“They’re saying they have interest in me,” Pitts said of Atlanta’s front office. “After today, we’ll get back on a Zoom and they’ll try to learn more about me. I feel like they’re pretty interested. It would be a dream come true to be a top five or even the first nonquarterback to come off the board. That’s something I look forward to in the draft.”
If Pitts is goes at No. 4, the draft’s ensuing 15 minutes will be a nervous time for Miami. The Bengals are apparently giving thought to reuniting Joe Burrow and his former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase, who also had his big predraft workout Wednesday.
Grier flew to Baton Rouge for LSU’s Pro Day, and had to come away impressed. Chase’s 40 time (sub-4.4) and vertical leap (41 inches) might have secured his place as WR1 ahead of DeVonta Smith.
What could earn Pitts the edge over Chase: He can play tight end and wide receiver. You won’t see Chase lined up with a hand in the dirt.
But Jeremiah believes Pitts would be a top-five pick purely an X receiver. His added value comes from the matchup headaches he will provide defensive coordinators in the seam.
“[NFL teams] have mentioned utilizing me in different areas but not just specifically receiver,” Pitts said.
He added: “You dream of this your whole life and to see it in front of your eyes, it’s different. So being able to have the opportunity to even step into the NFL or be a top-10 pick, it’s not many people that are fortunate enough to do that, so just me being in that position, God blessed me in that way and I feel like that’s something special.”