Kyle Pitts is what one could call the next step in the rapid evolution of the modern tight end.
A decade ago, the tight end was still a player largely kept in line with his hand in the ground. It took former basketball players like Jimmy Graham to lead a shift in thinking about the position, splitting tight ends out like receivers to create personnel mismatches that exploited slower linebackers in coverage.
Speedier tight ends followed, and even some who would have been seen as too small to play the position in past eras began vaulting up draft boards, with Evan Engram serving as a prime example in New York.
Now, Pitts is shaping up to be a tight end who will spend most of his time split out, and he’s ready to give opposing defenses nightmares of historic proportions. After running a blazing-fast 4.44 40-yard dash at his pro day Wednesday, he’s feeling himself and his sky-high potential.
“Start at a high level and keep increasing every year and being able to do other things that other tight ends aren’t doing, which would make me special,” Pitts said when asked what his top goal was in the NFL, via ESPN. “At the end of the day, with all the preparation and through the years, I feel like I’ll be the best to ever do it.”
Talk about setting a high bar. Pitts is seen as a premier prospect regardless of position, with some wondering aloud whether he might simply be the top player in this entire draft. He sure looked the part during his pro day workout, and could end up going higher in the draft than any tight end in history.
A franchise-changing tight end isn’t exactly a term we’re accustomed to, even after the exploits of multiple-time champion Rob Gronkowski helped change the way we see the position. But as the game changes with time, so does its talent pool. Pitts very well could end up serving as the face of such an evolution, and whichever team lands him will undoubtedly be ecstatic about their pick.
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