Why Kyle Pitts makes so much sense for the Eagles

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Reuben Frank
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Why Kyle Pitts makes so much sense for the Eagles originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Kyle Pitts makes sense in so many ways that he has to be included in any conversation about what the Eagles might do at No. 6.

He’s a tight end, and the Eagles are likely about to lose the best tight end in franchise history. He’s a big-time weapon, and the Eagles desperately need weapons. And he played at Florida under offensive coordinator Brian Johnson, who happens to be Nick Sirianni’s quarterbacks coach.

Pitts, a suburban Philly native, is one of the top tight end prospects in recent years, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound playmaking hybrid who projects as a top-10 pick in April.

If you’re thinking No. 6 is too high to take a tight end in the draft, don’t think of Pitts as a conventional tight end. He averaged 17.9 yards per catch this past year, 3rd-highest in the BCS among all players with at least 40 catches and highest by any BCS tight end since Ladarius Green of Louisiana averaged 18.0 in 2010.

Green went on to become a 4th-round pick of the Chargers (where he played under Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen).

Pitts is a mismatch nightmare. He can line up anywhere and is too fast for most linebackers to cover and too big for most corners. He's not considered an elite blocker but he's not bad.

NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, a one-time Eagles scout, has Pitts ranked as the 3rd-best player in the draft and wrote in his scouting report: “Pitts is a unique talent with the ability to take over a game,” adding, “He runs routes like a wideout” and “he beat upper-echelon SEC cornerbacks on a regular basis.”

Pitts finished 10th in the Heisman Trophy voting this year, making him the first tight end in the top 10 since Ken MacAfee of Notre Dame in 1977. McAfee went on to become a top-10 pick of the 49ers in 1978 but only played two seasons in the NFL, catching 46 passes.

Since McAfee, seven more tight ends have been drafted in the top-10. Kellen Winslow and Vernon Davis were both selected at No. 6.

The only tight ends the Eagles have taken in the 1st round are Charle Young No. 6 in 1973 and Keith Jackson No. 13 in 1988. Young made three Pro Bowls and Jackson five.

There are lots of intriguing options at No. 6, including a couple elite receivers, some promising quarterbacks, a potential star corner and franchise offensive tackle.

But if the Eagles decide to move forward with Jalen Hurts, Pitts could provide him with a generational playmaking talent and give Sirianni an explosive, versatile offensive force as he begins his Eagles coaching career.

The Eagles do have Dallas Goedert coming back, but his contract is up after the 2021 season.

Pitts first caught the Florida coaches’ eyes in the fall of 2018, his true freshman year out of Archbishop Wood in Warminster — the same high school that produced Villanova’s Collin Gillespie.

Pitts was playing wide receiver back then, backing up Van Jefferson, who wound up becoming the Rams’ 2nd-round pick last year.

“He was a guy with just so much talent we had to get him on the field,” Johnson told reporters covering Florida in September. “He was a guy that as a young player, as a freshman, he played behind Van and really got a chance to learn from him. And we put him in the game, he made some plays, he continued to develop and grow and now he’s in a position where he’s one of the best players in America. …

“He did no good sitting next to us on the sideline. We found a way to get him in there and help kind of accelerate his development. … We played him a little bit more outside because he had so much talent, a huge catch radius, he’s fast getting out of breaks, and then he kind of grew into what we saw in terms of him being an elite tight end.”

There's one more reason Pitts makes sense for the Eagles.

He went to Florida. Guess where Howie Roseman went to college.

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