Leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft starting on April 29th, we will be releasing several draft profiles of prospects who could potentially see themselves on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Next up…
Tre’ McKitty (Tight End), , Georgia
McKitty weighs in at 246lbs, standing at 6’4″ and is a potential sleeper at the tight end position.
Tre’ McKitty was a highly desired recruit coming out of high school with over 30 scholarship offers. He elected to start his career at Florida State before transferring to Georgia for his final season. McKitty was a solid contributor for the Seminoles over his time there but was primarily used as a check down option. He transferred to Georgia with the hopes of proving he can be a down the field threat and show off his blocking ability. He did just that, but with a very limited sample size. He only recorded 6 catches, but managed to average over 18 yards per reception. Georgia moved him all around the formation, but he also managed to show to be a solid blocker in the run game that can turn his man out of the hole. A solid showing at the Senior Bowl placed him firmly in the draft picture somewhere on Day 3.
- Solid athlete
- Willing run blocker
- Played several positions in multiple formations
- Difficult to tackle after the catch
- Natural hands catcher
- Good body control
- Dense body able to take hits over the middle
- Good speed
- Ability to win up the seem
- Solid, not great athlete
- Lack of number one tight end production
- Play speed doesn’t match testing speed
- Not a drive blocker who moves people off the line
- Knee surgery prior to final season effected him in games later in season
- Can be redirected too easily at the top of routes
With the retirement of Vance McDonald, it has left very little proven depth behind starter Eric Ebron. Also with Ebron being a free agent next season, the Steelers could definitely afford to add to their tight end room.
Run Blocking and Pass Protection
Even though he tends to get viewed as an athletic move tight end by the media, McKitty doesn’t hesitate to stick his nose in the trenches. Whether it is flexed out stock blocking, or being inline and taking on edge defenders, he is always a willing blocker. McKitty is more of a turner than a driver in the run game, so he won’t drive stronger defenders too far off the line of scrimmage. He has a good understanding of different blocking schemes and rarely has issues getting to his man. In pass protection, he does a good job slowing down pass rushers as well as communicating in blitz pickup. He occasionally lines up in the backfield and is able to see where the pressure is coming from and keep the pocket clean for his quarterback.
McKitty is a solid athlete who operated primarily as a check down for most of his career until he got to Georgia. He does a good job recognizing the open areas underneath and being one of his quarterback’s best friends if their first read isn’t open or the pocket collapses. Once he was at Georgia, he operated more down the field and proved to be a mismatch at times when lined up against linebackers. He never operated as a primary receiving option which leads to some questions if he has that upside. He has natural hands and doesn’t turn away from contact which makes him a reliable option. He also showed to be a true mismatch with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl in one on one situations.
No matter a team’s scheme, playbook, or formations McKitty shouldn’t have an issue translating and contributing to it. He has experience flexed out in the slot or on the edge, inline, and in the backfield as he was used all over the field. This proves to be a good tool as well as a slight knock on him since he never had the chance to truly focus in and try to dominate at any specific role. No matter where McKitty gets drafted, a creative offensive coordinator shouldn’t have much difficulty finding ways for him to contribute early in his career.
NFL Comparison – Richard Rodgers:
Both Rodgers and McKitty were versatile options coming out of college that would give NFL teams the ability to contribute early. They both were natural receivers with some mismatch ability but didn’t truly dominate in college. They also have solid blocking ability but aren’t true inline tight ends that are capable of driving defenders off the line of scrimmage. Rodgers has been a solid number two option for a of couple teams now with the ability to be a number one in a pinch, and McKitty profiles to follow a similar path.
Draft Projection – Mid Day Three:
Prior to the Senior Bowl, McKitty wasn’t viewed as much more than a player who was on the fringe of being drafted. After a strong showing as a blocker and as a mismatch in one on one situations at the Senior Bowl, he is now firmly on the day three radar. He may be able to sneak into the fourth round if someone falls in love with him, but he should be someone who can contribute immediately while being drafted in rounds 4 or 5.
Let us know below what you think about McKitty as a prospect, and let us know what other prospects you could be interested in seeing a profile on!