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Can Kyle Pitts be highest Gator drafted ever?

The worst kept secret in the NFL Draft is that Urban Meyer and the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick. Hell will freeze over if the Jaguars go with any other player at No. 1 overall but what happens with the New York Jets and the second pick is anyone's guess.

Florida has never had a player selected No. 1 overall and you have to go back to 1950 when the Chicago Bears took Florida running back Chuck Hunsinger at No. 2 overall to find a Gator drafted second. It's happened just twice, both running backs.

Can Kyle Pitts tie the school record for the highest pick? Some experts think so.

"Kyle Pitts is so good that the scouts I talk to that not only will he be the best tight end on your football team, barring four of five teams he'd be the best receiver on your football team, rookie year in the NFL,” Cowherd said. “Obviously he's not as good as Davante Adams in Green Bay, DeAndre Hopkins in Arizona, there's a handful that he's not better than, Mike Evans, maybe (in) Tampa. But, he’ll be the best tight end in the league in his first or second year. Tight ends have never meant more to teams. Travis Kelce was second in receiving yards last year as a tight end. But this idea that you would box yourself in and not draft a tight end first or second is just stupid. The only reason you wouldn't is fear of being mocked.”


It's true if you look at the NFL that the tight end position has never been more valued as teams look for these hybrid-type players that can play both on the line, split out wide, or even as an h-back. The NFL game has changed, putting a premium on points, passing, and offense, and having a tight end like Rob Gronkowski, George Kittles, or Kelce is a gamechanger. At tight end in this draft, it's Kyle Pitts, a wide margin, and every other tight end. Pitts has transcended the position and is being compared to the top pass catchers, regardless of position.

However, it's not totally crazy for a tight end to be picked early in the draft and it's happened before. Tight ends have been top-10 picks more than 20 times and there's a shortlist of guys that have been taken inside the top five, which Pitts should be able to join this year.

Speaking on an ESPN draft podcast, long-time draft analyst Mel Kiper couldn't recall having a tight end rated as high as Pitts, having to go all the way back to Kellen Winslow Sr.

Pitts is everything the NFL wants in a tight end in this era. Take it from his position coach, who also coached a future Hall of Famer in Antonio Gates.

"He’s generational," Brewster said of Pitts. "He’s just absolutely different in his skill sets and the things that he can do."

Now, the question is, where does Pitts go. He's arguably a top 5 player in the draft but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be drafted in the top five.

Pro Football Focus released a mock draft on Wednesday that had the Jets taking Pitts second overall. It might be a stretch, but Cowherd makes good points about Pitts. Who care if you get mocked for taking a perceived reach on Pitts that high if you end up with the best tight end in the NFL in a year or two and one of the best receiving targets in the league?

The Miami Dolphins are another team that has been linked to Pitts and they have picked at No. 3 and No. 18.

Pitts is almost a sure-fire top-10 pick and when he runs and goes through drills later this month during Florida's Pro Day his stock should be solidified. The only question left is how highly does one team rank him on their board and do one of the teams in the top five just decide to pull the trigger on one of the best players available even if it isn't a need for their immediate roster?

First-round draft picks for Florida Gators 

Florida Gators first round picks since 1970
Year  Pick overall  Player  Position  Team 

2020

9

C.J. Henderson

CB

Jacksonville Jaguars

2018

29

Taven Bryan

DT

Jacksonville Jaguars

2017

21

Jarrad Davis

LB

Detroit Lions

2016

11

Vernon Hargreaves

CB

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2016

17

Keanu Neal

S

Atlanta Falcons

2015

3

Dante Fowler

OLB

Jacksonville Jaguars

2015

24

D.J. Humphries

OT

Arizona Cardinals

2014

29

Dominique Easley

DT

New England Patriots

2013

23

Sharrif Floyd

DT

Minnesota Vikings

2013

32

Matt Elam

S

Baltimore Ravens

2011

15

Mike Pouncey

OG

Miami Dolphins

2010

7

Joe Haden

CB

Cleveland Browns

2010

18

Maurkice Pouncey

C

Pittsburgh Steelers

2010

25

Tim Tebow

QB

Denver Broncos

2009

22

Percy Harvin

WR

Minnesota Vikings

2008

8

Derrick Harvey

DE

Jacksonville Jaguars

2007

17

Jarvis Moss

DE

Denver Broncos

2007

21

Reggie Nelson

S

Jacksonville Jaguars

2003

22

Rex Grossman

QB

Chicago Bears

2002

26

Lito Sheppard

CB

Philadelphia Eagles

2001

3

Gerrard Warren

DT

Cleveland Browns

2001

14

Kenyatta Walker

T

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2000

10

Travis Taylor

WR

Baltimore Ravens

1999

16

Jevon Kearse

DE

Tennessee Titans

1999

24

Reggie McGrew

DT

San Francisco 49ers

1998

9

Fred Taylor

RB

Jacksonville Jaguars

1997

16

Reidel Anthony

WR

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1995

6

Kevin Carter

DE

St. Louis Rams

1995

15

Ellis Johnson

DT

Indianapolis Colts

1991

15

Huey Richardson

LB

Pittsburgh Steelers

1990

17

Emmitt Smith

RB

Dallas Cowboys

1989

12

Trace Armstrong

DE

Chicago Bears

1989

23

David Williams

OT

Houston Oilers

1989

25

Louis Oliver

DB

Miami Dolphins

1988

21

Clifford Charlton

LB

Cleveland Browns

1987

27

Ricky Nattiel

WR

Denver Broncos

1986

15

John Williams

FB

Seattle Seahawks

1986

27

Neal Anderson

RB

Chicago Bears

1985

6

Lomas Brown

OT

Detroit Lions

1985

27

Lorenzo Hampton

RB

Miami Dolphins

1984

11

Wilber Marshall

LB

Chicago Bears

1983

13

James Jones

FB

Detroit Lions

1978

3

Wes Chandler

WR

New Orleans Saints

1975

14

Glenn Cameron

LB

Cincinnati Bengals

1972

14

John Reaves

QB

Philadelphia Eagles

1971

20

Jack Youngblood

DE

Los Angeles Rams

1970

20

Steve Tannen

DB

New York Jets