The 49ers have the No. 12 overall pick in this year’s draft, and while there are a handful of needs to fill, the best player on the board at the time is projected to be Florida Gators’ tight end, Kyle Pitts.
In this week’s Pro Football Focus mock draft, the Niners select Pitts.
Anthony Treash of PFF believes, “pairing Pitts with George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Kyle Shanahan’s brain is an opportunity too good to pass up. That right there would be a scary personnel package to defend.”
With 49ers possibly losing fullback Kyle Juszczyk come the new league year in March when free agency hits, which means adding Pitts to their offense would fill that void and give them more options to spice up their offense with a duel-tight end set.
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PFF Details Why Kyle Pitts Is the Best TE in the 2021 Draft
Pitts, 6-6 and 246 pounds, caught 100 passes for 1,492 yards and 18 touchdowns in his three seasons as a Gators. Just this past season, he reeled in 43 passes for 770 yards with 12 touchdowns as a junior.
Treash summed up Pitts’ collegiate career and explained why he’s the best tight end entering this year’s draft class:
Pitts generated a 96.2 PFF grade this year, more than five grading points higher than any other tight end and well above the previous record set by former FAU Owl and now-Cleveland Brown Harrison Bryant in 2019 (92.5). The 49ers’ receiving corps was one of the worst in the NFL in 2020 — the selection of Pitts goes a long way toward changing that.
The versatile tight end played just shy of 64% of his offensive snaps inline, but he dominated unlike any other tight end we had ever seen when he lined up out wide in single coverage. Pitts went toe-to-toe with press coverage when lined up out wide for 40 receiving snaps this season and came away with seven explosive receptions of 15-plus yards on those opportunities. We have never seen a tight end record more than two of those in a single year before Pitts this season.
Pitts Is Great, But the 49ers Need to Address Their No. 1 Need
While Pitts would be a solid addition to the Niners’ roster, the 49ers have a need that they need to address which ranks much higher than the tight end position––cornerback.
Cornerbacks Richard Sherman, Jason Verrett, Ahkello Witherspoon, Dontae Johnson, K’Waun Williams, Jamar Taylor, and Emmanuel Moseley are all set to hit the open market. That means they’ll need to turn to the draft for younger face and free agency for some vets, depending on how many they really lose. And you can go ahead and count Sherman out.
If the 49ers do end up looking to Pitts at No. 12, they will need to grab the top corner in round-two but they really shouldn’t even want to wait that long.
Realistically, they should have drafted a young corner last season and hopefully, they don’t make the same mistake twice.