Straight from the horse’s mouth comes the final word: Kyle Pitts isn’t destined for the Dallas Cowboys.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, holding his pre-NFL Draft press conference Tuesday, pointedly shut down speculation that he’s “infatuated” with the Florida tight end, defining the characterization — and the accompanying trade predictions — as “not legitimate.”
“It’s a distortion for this draft and where we are there,” Jones said, via Pro Football Talk. “It implies something that’s just not the case. We’re not going to go in there and spend inordinate value to maneuver up there so we can get Pitts.”
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How We Got Here
Throughout the offseason, Pitts — a “generational talent” whose comparisons range from Kellen Winslow Sr. to Calvin Johnson to … LeBron James — has been a trendy mock choice for the defensive-needy Cowboys at No. 10 overall.
But the floodgates opened fully last month after ESPN insider Chris Mortensen reported Jones is in love with the former Gators star and will mull a blockbuster move to Atlanta’s fourth-overall spot to secure the 20-year-old’s services.
“Well, I’ll admit that he’s a perfect fit for Dan Quinn the new defensive coordinator’s scheme, Patrick Surtain II that is,” Mortensen explained. “However, we’re hearing this thing about Jerry Jones, the owner of the Cowboys and the GM, being infatuated with Kyle Pitts. So I have figured he’s going to have to trade up to get Kyle Pitts. I don’t agree with [ESPN cohort] Mike [Tannenbaum] about where Pitts has fallen here. I think he’ll offer Emmitt Smith and Larry Allen, maybe throw in Michael Irvin. He doesn’t need Tony Romo but he has Dak Prescott, he spent $40 million a year on Dak Prescott so why not go get Kyle Pitts, or if he actually falls to 10, you couldn’t rule him out.”
The Cowboys did little to hide their interest in Pitts, who held an official (virtual) pre-draft interview with the organization. During the meeting, Jones gushed over his hypothetical addition to an already powder-kegged offense.
“Boy, I’ll tell you what, I’m excited to have you come into this league,” he told Pitts. “And, man, what a pair up we could do with ole Dak Prescott and some of those guys that we’ve got out there with options to get you the ball. So, we can dream of visions of sugar plums around here.”
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Where We’re Going
Those visions, however grandiose, are unlikely to manifest beyond Jones’ mind. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on April 23 that he’s “pretty sure” Dallas will eschew trading up for any first-round prospect Thursday night — including Pitts, who could be long gone by the time they’re on the clock.
“Smokescreens abound, but of this fact I’m (pretty) sure: Don’t expect the Cowboys to trade up from No. 10 in the first round,” Rapoport said. “Their love for Florida TE Kyle Pitts has been noted, though they join a long list. But they aren’t expected to come up for him (or anyone).”
On Tuesday, Jones, the ultimate showman, couldn’t resist keeping alive the air of mystery. “What is exciting about the 10th pick is you got a chance to do something unconventional,” he said.
In a following breath, the reality of his impending first-round selection sank in. And, with all due respect to Patrick Surtain II or Jaycee Horn, it probably doesn’t resemble sugar plums.
“I think that we’ve got a good chance to have a top defensive player, the top or one of the top, be there at No. 10,” Jones said.
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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL