If the Miami Dolphins aren’t able to facilitate a trade out of the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the team’s options will be better narrowed down to those candidates. Miami, a team in need of an offensive boost, would do well to add more – the argument could be made for any of the groups to be drafted.
But the prospect that seems to have the most momentum right now is Florida TE Kyle Pitts; a weird athlete who ran somewhere around 4.50s in the 40-yard dash (he’d tell you it was a 4.46s run) at 246 pounds.
He ran a 4.46u 40 per trainer @ Level40Formation
– FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) 22 mars 2021
Pitts is a phenomenal athlete despite everything. But some will question the merits of a “tight end” being made in the top three overall versus drafting an offensive tackle or wide receiver. But if you’re looking for the best case to make for the Dolphins to actually draft Pitts in the event that they stay in line with the No. 3 overall pick, you don’t need to look any further than Miami’s second tallest. . Recent Week 16 football game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Miami won the contest thanks to a bit of Fitzmagic – but almost saw their hopes slip through the cracks thanks in large part to one of the hopes Pitts is most often compared to: Raiders tight end Darren Waller.
The man in charge of covering Waller that night? Defensive back Eric Rowe – generally one of the strongest cover safeties against opposing tight ends in all of football. Rowe, over the year, gave an opposing passer rating of 76.9 against him in cover according to Pro Football Focus and allowed only one touchdown in cover. In 14 of Miami’s 16 competitions in 2020, Rowe allowed under 40 yards of coverage while mostly covering the opposite tight ends.
But at week 16 against Darren Waller? Rowe was targeted 9 times and conceded 7 wins for 120 yards – Waller was unstoppable. And it’s a great reminder of what a player of his caliber (and Pitts’) is capable of offensively. The only other tight end in the NFL to score Rowe for big numbers in 2020 was Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce. Games against the Raiders and Chiefs have recorded 231 (115.5 ypg) of Rowe’s 508 total yards conceded this season according to Pro Football Focus.
Against teams that presented high-end tight ends? Rowe allowed 115.5 yards per game. In the other 14 games of the season, he allowed an average of 19.8 receiving yards. So let this performance serve Dolphins fans with a reminder of what a player model Darren Waller or Kyle Pitts may be able to do. And then you have to ask yourself: why wouldn’t you want that?
If Miami remains firm at No. 3 overall, that will likely be the team’s only crack in the Pitts draft. But recent history against cut-and-match players would indicate it’s really not a decision at all.