Why Kyle Pitts would be a great pick at 6 for the Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t been able to rest since the start of 2021. The new year started with a month-long, agonizing saga surrounding Carson Wentz. For weeks, Eagles fandom speculated and waited to see if Wentz would be traded, and as painful as it was to see him go, the silver lining lies in the relief of all of the drama finally coming to a close. Now, the focus can be directed to a very intriguing offseason for the Eagles, highlighted by a new coaching staff, a new starting quarterback, and a very important 2021 NFL Draft.
The focus for the Eagles now shifts to the NFL Draft. After the abysmal 4-11-1 finish to the 2020 season, the Eagles landed the sixth pick in this year’s draft. It is only the fourth time this century that the Eagles have held a top-ten pick in the draft. A first-round pick at face value gives a team a player to plugin to the team and make an immediate impact for the squad.
A top-ten pick though is a whole different story. This is the territory where you can land a generational talent at a position, a player that can alter a franchise. Eagles fans aren’t used to picking in this area. Who were the last two players selected by the Eagles this high? Carson Wentz, an integral piece to the 2017 Super Bowl season, and three-time pro-bowler Lane Johnson.
Who will Howie take at number six? Well, there are many options to consider but one of the biggest talking points has to be the tight end from Florida. At face value, taking a tight end in the first round alone sounds blasphemous. I am a full believer that some positions are just not worth a first-round draft pick, tight ends being one of them. The position is too restricted, and the impact a TE can have on an NFL football team is very limited.
Just look at the last couple tight ends taken in the first round: T.J Hockenson, Noah Fant, Hayden Hurst, and OJ Howard. I wouldn’t view any of these guys as bad tight ends, but I do believe none of them were worth their draft position. OJ Howard is now third on the TE depth chart in Tampa and caught 11 passes in 2020. Hayden Hurst isn’t even a Raven anymore three years later, and Noah Fant and TJ Hockenson haven’t seen their teams finish above .500 since being drafted. Nine times out of ten, drafting a tight end early isn’t worth it. Kyle Pitts is different.
For starters, Kyle Pitts was by far the best tight end in college football in 2020. Playing for Florida meant he had to go up against SEC defenses, which didn’t seem to be a problem for Pitts. 43 receptions, 770 yards, and 12 touchdowns is a superb season for any pass-catcher, let alone a tight end.
What makes Pitts so special, and different from all of the tight ends listed above, is where he lined up. 24 of those 43 receptions came off the line. Seven of his twelve touchdowns came from in the slot or the outside. In my mind, Kyle Pitts is the second-best pass catcher in this draft, behind Ja’Marr Chase.
That not enough for you? Well, let’s look at the intangibles then. Kyle Pitts is flat-out a matchup nightmare wherever you stick him on the line of scrimmage. If you let him come off the line, his 4.7 40-yard dash is too quick for any linebacker to keep up with him. You stick him in the slot or out wide, his 6’6”, 240 frame is too big for opposing cornerbacks, pair that with his amazing hands (he didn’t drop a pass last year) and he’s a cornerback’s nightmare. No matter where you stick Pitts, he’ll have an advantage against his defender. There are very few players with that type of talent.
Unfortunately for Birds fans, Pitts may not even get to the sixth pick according to recent reports. Rob Maaddi recently reported that the Atlanta Falcons are showing serious interest in the Florida TE with their fourth overall pick. Prior to this news many expected Atlanta to draft their quarterback of the future with Matt Ryan turning 36 in May.
Regardless of recent reports, draft night is a long way away, and until then all I can do is speculate. Something I don’t have to speculate about is how I would feel if I saw Pitts come to Philly at that sixth pick, excited.
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