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We all know the legend of Tim Tebow. He has been one of the most celebrated and decorated quarterbacks in the history of college football. He was a great winner and leader. We also know that he is not expected to be a successful quarterback in the NFL. Several quarterbacks who have been less celebrated, who are less decorated, who won a lot less, and who have less leadership abilities are projected to be drafted before Tebow. The knock on Tebow is that his style of play does not fit the style of play in the NFL.

Tebow is not alone. Dennis Pitta concluded his career at BYU as arguably the best tight end in BYU history, and that says a lot. Here is a snapshot of Pitta’s resume:

* 2009 consensus All-American tight end;
* NCAA Record for career receiving yards by a tight end (2,901);
* 2009 Mackey Award Finalist;
* School record for career receptions (221);
* 48 games played;
* 43 consecutive games with a reception (45 if you only count games where he played);
* 3 seasons of over 800 yards receiving;
* 1 season of over 1,000 yards receiving;
* 7 games with 100 yards receiving or more;
* 1 game with over 200 yards receiving.

This list is more impressive when you take into account that for the last three years, Pitta has shared the tight end duties with Andrew George (70 receptions, 827 yards, 11 touchdowns).

Those who have watched Pitta play have seen him make difficult grabs look routine. It was not uncommon to see him go up for a ball, get hit by one or more defenders on his way down, and still hang on to the ball. He gets himself into position to catch any pass in his vicinity. Many of his receptions converted third downs into first downs.

At the NFL draft combine last week in Indianapolis, Pitta ranked first among all tight ends in the 3-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle, and 60-yard shuttle, and second in bench press reps. He 40 time wasn’t shabby either, 4.63. Yet, Pitta is ranked as the seventh best tight end in the draft. None of the mock drafts that I saw before the combine had Pitta going in the first three rounds. He has just moved up to the third round, 84th pick (fourth tight end), in Peter Schrager’s Mock Draft 3.0 (

Blocking is holding Pitta back. NFL tight ends are expected to be great blockers, as well as pass catchers. BYU tight ends always have to fight the stigma that they aren’t good blockers. Just like lining up in the shot gun and not having a proper release is hurting Tim Tebow, the style of play for tight ends at BYU is hurting Pitta’s draft stock.

I think the third round is a steal for Pitta who may end up being the next Tony Gonzalez.