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Los Angeles Chargers’ Tre’ McKitty Rookie Profile

With the 97th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers selected Tre’ McKitty, tight end from Georgia. A projected 6th or 7th-round pick, it surprised many that the Chargers nabbed him with a late third-round pick. McKitty spent most of his college career with Florida State, where he struggled to achieve success amidst severe turmoil. Florida State’s football program, compared to what it was a mere decade ago, has nearly fallen apart. In 3 years, McKitty played for 2 separate coaches, and if he didn’t transfer to Georgia in his senior year, he would have played for a third coach there.

However, through enduring instability at Florida State and a knee injury at Georgia, McKitty was able to showcase some impressive athleticism. Even though his stats are subpar, his tape showed that he does have untapped potential. In a more stable setting, would he be able to find greater success? What are his strengths and weaknesses? This is the Tre’ McKitty rookie profile.

Tight end Tre’ McKitty was the second third-round selection for the Los Angeles Chargers at pick 97. (via Tre’ McKitty on Twitter, @T_mckitty)

Strengths

  • Decent athleticism for a decent frame. At 6’4, 246 pounds, Tre’ McKitty certainly has sufficient size for the NFL level. Paired with that size is his solid footwork, which can be helpful in run blocking and short routes.
  • Solid hands, especially on the run. McKitty should not have much issue catching while on the run, as well as holding onto the football after the catch. In limited film at Florida State and Georgia, McKitty showed a talent for nabbing passes mid-stride and keeping his momentum.
  • High-effort blocker with room for growth. While this isn’t exactly a fully-positive trait, the fact that he has the potential to grow into a stout run-blocker, paired with his already high-intensity blocking, helps explain why the Chargers reached for him in the third round. While fundamentals can always be improved, effort is more innate, so McKitty already having that intensity will certainly help him develop his game.

Weaknesses

  • Unimpressive burst speed. In a league where receiving tight ends are now being coveted greatly, largely due to the influence of players like Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, and George Kittle, Tre’ McKitty does not fit the mold. McKitty has virtually no burst speed when running routes, which makes him easy to guard and redirect.
  • Very limited college sample size. While this isn’t the end of the world, a limited sample size is never a good thing for a prospect. In 4 seasons in college, McKitty caught 56 catches for 628 yards and 3 touchdowns. Those numbers would be decent for a single season, but for 4 seasons? The fact that he only played in 4 games his senior season did not help, either.
  • Poor route running. This ties into both his unimpressive burst speed and lack of development through college. McKitty’s route running can appear aimless at best to anyone watching him. Without any burst speed and below-average route running skills, he becomes virtually non-existent as a passing threat, even with solid hands.
Tre’ McKitty, largely considered a developmental product, showed flashes of talent at limited snaps in college. (via Mark Wallheiser/AP Photo)

Summary

Tre’ McKitty is not NFL-ready…yet. While  he has shown he has room for growth in blocking and route-running, the fact of the matter is that he is simply lacking in many factors of what teams are looking for in a tight end. While program turmoil at Florida State and a knee injury at Georgia certainly impeded that development, the fact of the matter is that McKitty simply does not look like a Day 2 product. Kevin Koger, the Chargers’ new tight ends coach, will have a lot of work ahead of him to make sure that McKitty can become worthy of the 97th pick.

As it stands, though, McKitty seems like a definite reach, banking entirely on his untapped potential. General Manager Tom Telesco definitely could have passed on him here and likely nabbed him later in the draft, maybe in the 5th or 6th round. Fans can only hope that McKitty can develop into a solid TE3. This has been the Tre’ McKitty rookie profile.

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