September 26, 2021

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Kyle Pitts puts on show at Florida Gators pro day,…

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Kyle Pitts puts on show at Florida Gators pro day,...

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — There was no shortage of Kyle Pitts highlights at the Florida Gators pro day Wednesday, from his measurables to his moves to even his mindset.

Pitts put on a show, even before he stepped on the field to catch passes from quarterback Kyle Trask for maybe the last time. His 83⅜-inch wingspan was more than impressive, even by NFL standards. The 6-foot-6, 245-pound Philadelphia native also had a 33½-inch vertical, recorded 10 feet, 9 inches in the broad jump and managed 22 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press.

Pitts later covered the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds, not far off tight end Vernon Davis’ combine watershed mark (4.38) set in 2006. He ended the day running routes for Trask and then raised some eyebrows while sharing his No. 1 goal.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Pitts, Trask and several teammates — most notably cornerback Marco Wilson and receivers Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes — worked out for talent evaluators from 31 of 32 NFL teams. Four head coaches were in attendance: Urban Meyer (Jacksonville Jaguars), Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers), Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins) and Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals).

Pitts is widely considered a lock to be a top-10 pick in the draft, and it’s possible for Pitts to be the highest-drafted tight end in the modern era (since 1970). Denver drafted Riley Odoms fifth overall in 1972. Davis and Kellen Winslow Jr. (2004) both went sixth.

“He’s a different bird than what a traditional tight end has been or certainly has been when I played,” said Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell, a tight end who played 11 NFL seasons. “Look, he’s one of those guys that’s talented, but there’s a number of guys up there that are talented. … There’s a number of guys that you’d be fired up to have one way or another.”

The Lions have the tight end most recently drafted in the top 10, T.J. Hockenson in 2018. Hockenson is among a growing list of recent first-rounders at the position — Hayden Hurst, O.J. Howard, Evan Engram, David Njoku, Eric Ebron and Tyler Eifert are others — whose careers, at least at times, have fallen short of expectations.

Pitts caught 43 passes for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in 7½ games last season. He missed 10 quarters following a vicious hit against Georgia in early November that knocked his helmet so sideways that his face mask fractured his septum. He had surgery and sat out two full games.

He returned, scored three times against Kentucky and then opted out of the Cotton Bowl after another unstoppable performance against Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.