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Kyle Pitts mock draft: Eagles, Cowboys, Dolphins top best 2021 NFL Draft fits for Florida TE

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Kyle Pitts mock draft: Eagles, Cowboys, Dolphins top best 2021 NFL Draft fits for Florida TE

Kyle Pitts is one of the best receiving tight end prospects in the history of the NFL draft. He will be selected as an early first-rounder in the 2021 NFL Draft. The question is, just how high will the dynamic pass-catching athlete go?

Some would say Pitts, at 6-6, 246 pounds, is a luxury pick for a team that doesn’t have glaring needs at more critical positions that get targeted in top 10, led by quarterback, offensive tackle, wide receiver and edge rusher. Some would say his dominant playmaking is an absolute necessity for a pro offense to jump to the next level of versatile explosiveness in the passing game.

Pitts is coming off a massive final season with the Florida Gators. In only 8 games during his junior year, he caught 43 passes for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns, In addition to being a hard-to-cover matchup nightmare in the red zone, Pitts also featured the field-stretching speed in averaging 17.9 yards per catch. He’s a special game-changer at the position in the mold of the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce and the Raiders’ Darren Waller.

With all that in mind, here’s a look at Pitts’ six most likely landing spots on April 29:

MORE NFL DRAFT: SN’s latest 2021 mock draft | Top 100 big board

Kyle Pitts’ best 2021 NFL Draft fits

1. Philadelphia Eagles (No. 12 overall)

The Eagles dropped six spots from No. 6 thanks to their trade with the Dolphins. They might have kept themselves from a top-two wide receiver, but they still are rather well positioned to land Pitts as a different style of key target for Jalen Hurts. The Eagles seem intent on trading Zach Ertz and offensive-minded coach Nick Sirianni worked well with Frank Reich in using multiple tight ends for the Colts.

Pitts and Dallas Goedert would be a tough intermediate combination to stop, with 2020 first-rounder Jalen Reagor playing off them as a speedy outside wide receiver. Pitts could be used a hybrid player lining up in multiple spots. Hurts can easily turn him into a key go-to guy in the red zone.

2. Dallas Cowboys (No. 10)

The Cowboys have some big developing needs elsewhere, including cornerback, edge rusher and offensive tackle. But keep in mind Jerry Jones went luxury pick with a highly skilled receiver last year and wasn’t disappointed with CeeDee Lamb. With Dak Prescott back with Lamb, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, a dynamo such as Pitts would give an explosive Dallas passing game another dangerous dimension.

Blake Jarwin has flashed some upside, but he’s coming off a midseason torn ACL. Dalton Schutlz contributed OK, but he is better as an inline blocker. Pitts would be the Cowboys’ most impactful target at the position since future Hall of Famer Jason Witten in his prime.

3. Miami Dolphins (No. 6)

The Dolphins still can get a top-two wide receiver after dropping three spots. Both Alabama prospects, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, would be tempting to reunite with Tua Tagoavailoa and there’s a chance LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase would still be available. 

But going for Pitts isn’t bad either for new co-offensive coordinators Eric Studesville and George Godsey as the team transitions from Chan Gaiey’s scheme in Year 2 of Tagovailoa. Mike Gesicki has gotten more impactful as a receiver, but he also is a free agent in 2022. Regardless, the Dolphins could consider deploying more 12 personnel with Pitts complementing Gesicki. Pitts’ work as a big playmaker also would mesh with outside No. 1 DeVante Parker and new fast deep threat Will Fuller.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (No. 5)

There’s a strong chance the Bengals lean offensive tackle in Oregon’s Penei Sewell, even with some hopes for Jonah Williams and free-agent addition Riley Reiff to hold down the edge OK. They also could consider a top wide receiver to complement big Tee Higgins and slot ace Tyler Boyd.

But given how much Joe Burrow liked throwing to the middle of the field last season, Pitts would provide him with a high-end safety valve. Burrow had a good connection with C.J. Uzomah early as a rookie, but Uzomah is coming off a torn Achilles’ and is a free agent in 2022. Drew Sample is meant to be more of a blocker. Pitts’ hybrid abilities would give Burow a trio of diverse targets and help him get the ball out quickly on short-to-intermediate routes.

5. Los Angeles Chargers (No. 13)

The Chargers have a little void at tight end after they were unable to keep free agent Hunter Henry, who signed with the Patriots. Like the Bengals and their second-year quarterback, they also will be in the market for an offensive tackle and wide receiver. Los Angeles did invest in the offensive line well in free agency, and Justin Herbert needs some sure-handed, explosive help in the new offense of Joe Lombardi.

Well-traveled Jared Cook was signed to help replace Henry, but he’s entering his age 34 season and coming off a real fade with the Saints, who released him with Adam Trautman waiting in the wings. Again, Pitts’ hybrid nature can make him a good fit in some capacity complementing Keenan Allen, also knowing oft-injured big outside wideout Mike Williams is a free agent in 2022.

6. Carolina Panthers (No. 8)

The Panthers seem intent on drafting a big quarterback upgrade to Teddy Bridgewater and are in the wheel house to land one of five promising first-rounders behind the Jaguars, Jets and 49ers, as they still pick one spot ahead of the Broncos. But if things don’t play out well there for Carolina, tight end is an excellent option to upgrade from Ian Thomas, who hasn’t lived up to being Greg Olsen’s successor.

The big-play ability of wide receivers Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore would put Pitts in position to succeed on intermediate routes. He also would drive batty second-level pass defenders who also need to account for running back Christian McCaffrey in the passing game. There’s no question Pitts would boost Bridgewater should he remain the bridge QB.

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ESPN’s Holly Rowe speaks French and English in WNBA Draft interview; Twitter reacts

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ESPN's Holly Rowe speaks French and English in WNBA Draft interview; Twitter reacts

ESPN reporter Holly Rowe received many a “tres bien” from her confrères in media for conducting a bilingual interview with WNBA Draft pick Iliana Rupert, a France international, on Thursday night.

Rupert was chosen 12th overall by the Las Vegas Aces. With the draft being a virtual event for the second year in a row because of COVID-19, Rowe conducted the post-selection interview in an ESPN studio while Rupert was on camera remotely.

MORE: Why Paige Bueckers was ineligible for ’21 WNBA Draft

Rowe began the interview with “Bonsoir,” or “Good evening,” and asked Rupert in French whether she spoke English. Rupert responded in the affirmative and the interview proceeded in English.

“It’s always been one of my dreams and it’s amazing being recognized,” Rupert said. “I’m really happy to [represent] my country and I’m just excited to finally start this journey.”

After two more questions and responses in English, Rowe switched back to French for the interview’s conclusion, telling Rupert “Bienvenue,” or “Welcome,” to the WNBA. She also gave her regards to Rupert’s family.

Rowe’s media colleagues were quick with the compliments.

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‘It shows how exciting we can be!’ – Saka says Arsenal have real chance of winning Europa League after Slavia rout

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'It shows how exciting we can be!' - Saka says Arsenal have real chance of winning Europa League after Slavia rout

Bukayo Saka says Arsenal have a real chance of winning the Europa League after their rout of Slavia Prague, and claims their latest performance “shows everyone how exciting we can be”.

Arsenal bounced back from a disappointing 1-1 draw against Slavia in the first leg of their quarter-final tie at Emirates Stadium by picking up a comprehensive 4-0 victory in the Czech Republic on Thursday night.

Saka was among the scorers as the Gunners booked a last-four clash with Villarreal, and he is confident they can now go all the way in the competition after flexing their attacking muscles at the Sinobo Stadium.

What’s been said?

“It was fantastic from start to finish. We did it for all the fans, they all deserve it for all the support they give us. We are really happy to progress,” the Arsenal winger told BT Sport.

“We showed real character. The first one was disallowed, Emile deserved a goal, we kept going and got the first one again. We pretty much killed the game in the first half.

“In the first leg we played well but weren’t clinical, credit to the manager and coaching staff, the way we set up, pressed, they couldn’t get out.

“It shows everyone how exciting we can be, when we play like this it is so amazing to be involved in. We have a chance of going to the final and winning this competition, it is up to us. We look forward to the next opponent.”

Arsenal put Slavia to the sword

The Gunners went at their Czech opponents right from the first whistle in the second leg clash, and found themselves in front after just 18 minutes when Nicolas Pepe dinked the ball into the net after being teed up by Emile Smith Rowe.

Alexandre Lacazette then doubled the visitors’ account from the penalty spot after Saka was fouled in the box, and the teenager got his goal moments later when he cut in from the right-wing before firing the ball low past the goalkeeper at his near post.

Lacazette added extra gloss to the final scoreline with a trademark finish 13 minutes from time as Arsenal progressed to the semi-finals 5-1 on aggregate.

What’s next?

Arsenal will now turn their attention back to the Premier League, with a home fixture against Fulham scheduled to take place on Sunday.

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What pressure? Arsenal sweeps Slavia Prague aside to set up a reunion with Emery

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What pressure? Arsenal sweeps Slavia Prague aside to set up a reunion with Emery

Slavia Prague 0-4 Arsenal: Match statistics

What was all the fuss about?

It was billed as the game that would define Arsenal’s season, a night that could even shape Mikel Arteta’s future at the club.

The pressure was supposed to be on against Slavia Prague but within 25 superb minutes, the Gunners were in cruise control.

Last week’s 1-1 draw at Emirates Stadium had left the Gunners with a very simple equation going into the second leg of their Europa League quarterfinal in the Czech capital: score a goal.

Arteta’s side knew failure to find a way through a Slavia side that was unbeaten at home in all competitions this season would send it crashing out of the tournament and leave an already disappointing season in tatters.

Serious questions were being asked of the players after the way in which they threw away a lead in the closing stages of the first leg to hand Prague the advantage going into Thursday night’s return fixture.

But in the space of six scintillating first-half minutes, those questions were answered in emphatic style.

The brilliant Emile Smith Rowe had already had a goal ruled out for the tightest of offside calls before Nicolas Pepe gave the visitors the lead on 18 minutes, thus canceling out Slavia’s away goal.

Alexandre Lacazette then struck from the penalty spot three minutes later to make it 2-0 on the night before Bukayo Saka added a classy third goal – all within 24 minutes of the game getting underway.

It was game, set and match Arsenal before we had even reached the half-hour mark.

Even in his wildest dreams, Arteta would never have imagined such an impressive start from his side, especially with his captain and talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missing due to contracting malaria while away with Gabon on international duty.

This was a major statement from his side and another example of why there is genuine belief within the club that things are heading in the right direction under the Spaniard.

Getty/Goal

The abject performances throughout November and the majority of December may have led to a hugely disappointing Premier League campaign, but the improvement since Christmas has been undeniable.

Since beating Chelsea 3-1 on Boxing Day, Arteta’s side sits fourth in the form table, with only Manchester City, Manchester United and West Ham picking up more points.

And now the Gunners have booked their spot in the Europa League semifinals, where they will meet Unai Emery’s Villarreal.

Clearly, there is still much for Arsenal to improve on and failure to go on and win the Europa League will more than likely leave it facing up to a season without European competition for the first time in 25 years.

For a club of Arsenal’s stature, that is not good enough, but there are still plenty of reasons for optimism and they were all on show as Prague was blown away in its backyard.

Arsenal’s homegrown youngsters have been the catalyst for the improvement since Boxing Day and one again they led the charge – with academy graduates Smith Rowe and Saka proving far too good for the Czech champions.

Immediately after seeing a goal ruled out for offside, Smith Rowe waltzed through the Slavia defense before working the ball to Pepe, who showed wonderful composure to score his fifth Europa League goal of the season.

Saka then took center stage, winning a penalty, which was converted by Lacazette, before scoring the third himself with a fine finish from the edge of the box.

At that point, the game was done and dusted. Arsenal had done its job and it cruised through the remainder of the quarterfinal, with Lacazette putting the gloss on a fabulous night’s work with a fourth goal on 77 minutes.

All eyes now turn to the semifinal against Villarreal and the return of Emery, the man Arteta replaced just over 16 months ago.

Emery led Arsenal to the Europa League final in 2019 and now he is the man standing in their way of repeating the trick two years later.

A return to the Champions League is now within touching distance for Arsenal. Just three games stand between the Gunners and a seat back at Europe’s top table.

They went to Prague with their season on the line and they return to London with the dream still alive.

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