Here’s where Florida’s first-round picks stand after minicamp

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The NFL’s mandatory minicamp has come and gone, meaning we’ve seen all we’re going to see of the 2021 rookies until players report back for the full fall camp on July 27. Still, we had several weeks of organized team activities and minicamps to gauge the progress of some of these players, and we’re starting to get an idea of who the early standouts are.

With that in mind, ESPN did some housekeeping on the development of each of the 32 first-round rookies post-minicamp. Two of those players — fourth-overall pick Kyle Pitts and 20th-overall pick Kadarius Toney — are former Gators.

The pair are both expected to have major impacts in revitalizing downtrodden offenses. The former is heading to Atlanta, which hasn’t been bad offensively but was forced to deal arguably the best player in franchise history in Julio Jones due to finances this offseason, while the latter hopes to aid in the development of third-year quarterback Daniel Jones with the Giants, which has been gradual to this point.

According to ESPN’s reporting, here’s where each of them currently stands.

Kyle Pitts - Atlanta Falcons (No. 4)

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Pitts had one of the most dominant seasons a collegiate player has ever had in 2020, and he may have been a competitor for the Heisman if injuries didn't keep him out of several games. Still, he was rewarded by becoming the highest-drafted tight end in the common era of the NFL draft.

Pitts is going to be a player — early — in the Atlanta offense. He worked with quarterback Matt Ryan throughout minicamp and OTAs and looked the part of a difference-maker. He also had more of a chance to develop a rapport with Ryan because receivers Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage and running back Mike Davis were largely absent from offseason workouts, so that meant more opportunities for Pitts to catch passes. He made some rookie mistakes -- first-year coach Arthur Smith had him run a lap for an error during one minicamp practice — but so far, Pitts is exactly what the Falcons expected: a playmaker. — Michael Rothstein

Trading Jones was surely painful for the Atlanta faithful, but the selection of Pitts softens the blow. He has all the tools to develop into one of the league's top tight ends, and he should find success early with the Falcons.

Kadarius Toney - New York Giants (No. 20)

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A wrong-sized cleat limited Toney at his first practice with the Giants, and that became a bit of a theme during New York's minicamp. Toney progressed tremendously as a senior in 2020, especially with regard to route-running, but he didn't get many chances to show that off in camp.

When Toney was on the field you could see the talent that made him a first-round pick. He was explosive and has the ability to change directions and accelerate at a moment's notice. The only problem is we didn't see it often. He couldn't find a cleat that fit at rookie minicamp, skipped OTAs because his contract wasn't signed (an extremely unusual approach) and then had a family emergency during minicamp. The Giants better hope this isn't a sign of things to come. — Jordan Raanan

Toney remains a bit of an enigma, and though skipping OTAs may not have made the best first impression, he'll still have the opportunity to prove himself within the Giants' receiving corps this fall.

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