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Gators’ Kyle Pitts drafted No. 4 overall by Falcons

The former Gators star became one of the highest drafted tight ends in NFL history.
Kyle Pitts, a former Gators star, is one of the top tight end prospects in NFL draft history.
Kyle Pitts, a former Gators star, is one of the top tight end prospects in NFL draft history. [ SAM CRAFT | AP ]
Published Apr. 30
Updated Apr. 30

Former Gators tight end Kyle Pitts made history Thursday night when the Falcons picked him No. 4 overall in the NFL draft.

Only six Florida players have ever been picked higher. Since the AFL-NFL merger (completed before the 1970 season), the list is even smaller; Lakewood High alumnus Dante Fowler (2015) and Gerard Warren (2001) both went third overall.

Pitts is the first UF offensive skill player to be drafted in the first round since quarterback Tim Tebow in 2010.

Related: Why Gators’ Kyle Pitts is a generational tight end built for today’s NFL

Pitts had the generational talent to join that exclusive list. His size (6-foot-5, 245 pounds) and speed (around 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash) are rarely found together and made him almost unstoppable in his third and final year at UF.

His 12 touchdown catches were tied for third nationally behind Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith and North Texas’ Jaelon Darden, helping him earn unanimous All-American honors and win the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end.

Former Gators star Kyle Pitts was invited to the NFL draft in Cleveland, Ohio.
Former Gators star Kyle Pitts was invited to the NFL draft in Cleveland, Ohio. [ DAVID DERMER | AP ]

Pitts’ selection also cements what analysts have said throughout the draft process: That the Pennsylvania native is one of the best tight end prospects in years, if not ever.

Only three tight ends have ever been chosen in the top five before this year: Ron Kramer (fourth to the Packers in 1957), Mike Ditka (fifth to the Bears in 1961) and Riley Odoms (fifth to the Broncos in 1972).

Pitts joined elite company because of his unique skillset. He’s an adequate blocker but an elite pass catcher. Pitts broke a UF record at his position with 1,492 career receiving yards, and his 100 catches were the second-most ever by a Gators tight end. His receiving talent and ability to line up all over the field reflects the way the position has evolved in the NFL.

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