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Monday Morning Mock Draft: Tight end Kyle Pitts is emerging as a popular target for the Patriots

Related: 7 winners and 3 losers from the 2021 Senior Bowl

NCAA Football: Florida at Mississippi Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

With the Senior Bowl wrapping up and a blockbuster trade shaking up the quarterback market, the NFL is coming off an eventful weekend — one that also had an inevitable impact on the draft. The latest round of mock drafts that was published since the Matthew Stafford-Jared Goff trade on Saturday night reflects this as well.

Let’s therefore take a closer look at them in the first installment of Monday Morning Mock Draft, to find out how the experts see the New England Patriots invest the 15th overall selection come late April.

Joe Marino, The Draft Network: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

The Patriots’ offense is full of question marks at nearly every position, including quarterback—the most important one. The NFL’s perception of Jones is tricky because he lacks dynamic physical traits but he brings accuracy and an impressive resume against high-level competition to the table. On the heels of watching Jones bring his close friend Nick Saban another National Championship trophy, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Bill Belichick give Jones a chance in New England.

Coming off a spectacular Senior Bowl week that was cut short because of a minor ankle injury suffered during Thursday’s round of practices, Mac Jones is seemingly solidifying himself as a first-round prospect. While the exhibition event presents only one piece of the puzzle, one can see why the Patriots might fall in love with Jones: as noted by Joe Marino, New England head coach Bill Belichick and his Alabama equivalent, Nick Saban, have a longstanding relationship. If any NFL coach has a good insight into Jones, it is Belichick.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of QB Mac Jones at No. 15?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    A
    (538 votes)
  • 33%
    B
    (640 votes)
  • 24%
    C
    (463 votes)
  • 8%
    D
    (157 votes)
  • 6%
    F
    (125 votes)
1923 votes total Vote Now

Mark Schofield, The Touchdown Wire: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida

I spent some time over the past week studying Florida’s 2020 offense, mostly to evaluate quarterback Kyle Trask and wide receivers Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes. But my eyes kept drifting to #84. Something tells me that will happen to Bill Belichick as well, and while the New England Patriots certainly need to address quarterback — which might have his eyes on Trask as well — Pitts is hard to ignore. Belichick knows the value of a dangerous weapon at TE, dating back to his days with the New York Giants and Mark Bavaro, and Pitts will make life easier for their quarterback next season: Jimmy Garoppolo.

The consensus top player at his position in this year’s draft class, Kyle Pitts would instantly upgrade the Patriots’ tight end position after a disappointing two seasons following Rob Gronkowski’s departure. As Mark notes, and also discusses on the latest episode of The Scho Show, Pitts would give New England a weapon that will make life easier for whoever the team’s next starting quarterback — he sees Jimmy Garoppolo returning to the team — will be.

AJ Schulte, Pro Football Network: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida

The Patriots and a huge, explosive playmaking tight end. Need I say more? Kyle Pitts is a freak of nature on the football field. Regardless of who the Patriots have at QB, a weapon like Pitts will make his life much easier.

The question when it comes to Pitts — a 6-foot-5, 240-pound player capable of being moved all over the offensive formation — is whether or not the Patriots would be comfortable investing another high draft pick in the tight end spot. New England already selected Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene in the third round last year, and both have some solid developmental traits to build on. The team’s evaluation of the two youngsters will play a role in its decision making process.

Brad Crawford, 247 Sports: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida

Pitts skipped the Cotton Bowl after a jaw-dropping season at tight end for the Gators. He finished with 36 catches for 641 yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing several games. ... In Pitts’ last outing for the Gators in the SEC Championship game loss to Alabama, he accounted for 7 catches for 129 yards and a touchdown. Over the course of his career at UF, playing in 24 games, he finished with 100 catches for 1,492 yards, 18 touchdowns and 14.9 yards per catch.

Pitts’ college production, however, has been impressive: as noted by Brad Crawford, he finished with some very good numbers during his time at Florida. On top of that, Pitts also has the upside to serve as a true all-around tight end capable of not just contributing as a receiver but an in-line blocker as well. As such, he might be the closest thing to Rob Gronkowski the Patriots can find this year.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of TE Kyle Pitts at No. 15?

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    A
    (887 votes)
  • 19%
    B
    (236 votes)
  • 5%
    C
    (67 votes)
  • 1%
    D
    (13 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (13 votes)
1216 votes total Vote Now