Heisman Candidate Kyle Pitts Just Enjoyed a $20 Million Day at the Office
For Kyle Pitts, Saturdays represent a chance to showcase his talents for NFL scouts. And so far, the Florida Gators tight end has given talent evaluators plenty to salivate about. As one of the top stars in college football, the dynamic playmaker has torched defenses at a historic rate. In fact, the Heisman candidate just enjoyed a $20 million day at the office.
So when the 2021 NFL draft takes place, don’t be surprised to see Pitts fly off the board earlier than any tight end in recent history. However, he may not even be the first Gators player off the board.
Kyle Pitts put himself on the NFL radar in 2019
After barely seeing the field in 2018, Kyle Pitts entered the 2019 season as the Gators’ starting tight end. The 6-foot-6, 240-pounder became one of college football’s biggest breakout stars and cemented his status as a legitimate NFL draft prospect.
Showcasing dynamic run-after-the-catch ability, Pitts racked up 54 catches for 649 yards and five touchdowns. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask routinely targeted his talented tight end in key moments. In fact, Pitts led the team in catches despite playing alongside several current NFL players.
Heading into the fall, the explosive playmaker looked to build off his breakout campaign. Let’s just say he’s already blown away expectations.
Pitts just had a $20 million day at the office
Kyle Pitts kickstarted Florida’s season by racking up 170 yards on eight catches against Ole Miss. More impressively, he turned half of those receptions into touchdowns.
On Saturday, he built on that impressive outing with a $20 million day at the office. Against South Carolina, Pitts caught four passes for 57 yards and two more touchdowns. According to ESPN Stats & Info, his six touchdown receptions through two games are tied for the second-most by an SEC player over the last 25 seasons.
For Pitts, Saturday meant much more than strengthening his Heisman candidacy. Rather, he just proved why he should be a top-10 pick in the 2021 NFL draft.
Pass-catching tight ends with Pitts’ movement skills are a rare breed. And as we’ve seen in recent years, NFL teams will spend valuable draft capital to secure an elite tight end.
In 2019, T.J. Hockenson went eighth overall to the Detroit Lions. That came one year after Hayden Hurst went 25th overall to the Baltimore Ravens.
Two years earlier, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected O.J. Howard with the 19th overall pick. Four picks later, Evan Engram went off the board to the New York Giants.
Pitts should be the next tight end to become a first-round pick. And based on the contracts signed by the 2020 NFL draft class, he will make at least $20 million on his initial deal if he gets selected in the first 10 picks. But Pitts may not even be the first Gator drafted in April.
In fact, Florida boasts another Heisman candidate who could come off the board even earlier than his talented teammate.
Could Florida have two Heisman finalists?
Kyle Pitts certainly looks like an early favorite to earn Heisman honors. However, he may ultimately lose votes to the person who throws him the ball: Kyle Trask.
Florida’s starting quarterback also went from an unknown to a household name in 2019. Taking over for an injured Felipe Franks, Trask broke out with 2,941 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, and just seven interceptions. His consistent play helped the Gators finish sixth in the final AP poll.
This season, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound signal-caller has looked even better. Against South Carolina, the Texas native completed 71.4% of his 42 attempts for 416 yards and six touchdowns. On Saturday, Trask added another four touchdown passes in an efficient day at the office.
It may be early, but it certainly looks like both Kyle Pitts and Kyle Trask should be in the Heisman conversation moving forward. And if the Gators’ two offensive stars continue to play at a high level, they will hear their names called early in the 2021 NFL draft.
All contract information courtesy of Spotrac. All statistics courtesy of Sports-Reference.