For the second straight season, the New England Patriots did not get the desired passing game production out of their tight end position. With Ryan Izzo leading the group for most of the year before being sent to injured reserve, and with rookies Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene struggling to get up to speed, the group finished the 2020 campaign with just 18 receptions for a combined 254 yards and one touchdown.
Needless to say that upgrading the position might be high up on the Patriots’ list of priorities this year, despite investing third-round selections in Asiasi and Keene not even a year ago.
So, who would be a potential target? According to the latest mock draft published by Joe Marino over at The Draft Network, Florida’s Kyle Pitts:
15. Patriots: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
The New England offense struggled in its first season without Tom Brady at quarterback, but it’s hard to envision any passer having success with the weapons that the Patriots featured in 2020. Kyle Pitts has the potential to be Darren Waller 2.0 and provide an immediate and significant upgrade to the current weapons in New England. Whoever is playing quarterback in Foxboro next season will struggle to have success if he isn’t surrounded better in 2021.
Pitts is the consensus top tight end entering the draft this year, and as such a realistic candidate to come off the board before New England is on the clock at number 15 in the first round. However, if he falls thus far, or if the Patriots decide to trade up, he appears to be a realistic candidate to be selected by the team.
Why? Colleague Keagan Stiefel summed it up perfectly in one of his recent College football players to watch for posts:
I’ve contended throughout the 2020 season that passing on Kyle Pitts will be a mistake regardless of positional need, thankfully for the Patriots, they need an elite pass catcher. Pitts pairs the skills of a top wide receiver prospect with the frame and playing style of an elite tight end.
My best approximation of an NFL comparison for Pitts would be the receiving skills of Darren Waller with the blocking skills of everyone’s favorite Patriot tight end Ryan Izzo (he could use some work).
I will leave you with two things, Kyle Pitts is the best possible player in the Patriots reach and if they do not draft him in April, they will regret it for the next decade.
Even with Asiasi and Keene entering their second year in the system Pitts might be too good a prospect to pass.