Name: Michael Pittman, Jr.
Michael Pittman is…different. He’s a Big WR, but isn’t. He’s a Second-Team All-American, and two-time First Team All-Pac 12. His intelligence shines in critical thinking situations, which isn’t something you normally see from a wideout (as opposed to a quarterback).
The first thing you notice when you turn on Pittman’s tape is his physicality. He knows he’s big, and he knows how to use all of his 220ish pounds. His contested catch rate was among the best in college football, with strong hands to pluck the ball away from opposing corners while using his size to box them out. His size/strength profile also lends itself to his blocking, as he’s among the best in class in that area. He has plus tracking ability, with good use of his body to twist and adjust in the air.
Best trait: Physicality
You’d like to see some speed from your True-X receiver, though it isn’t necessarily a necessity. Unfortunately, on tape, Pittman is just…not fast. He isn’t burst-y, isn’t twitchy, isn’t sudden, and suffers in space because of it. Don’t love him against press coverage – something he’ll have to work on in order to be effective as an X at the next level. Also wonder how productive he’ll be without volume targets.
Worst trait: Suddenness
Lamar Jackson (the QB, not the DB) loves his bigger targets, as shown by his connection with TE Mark Andrews, and his blossoming connection with Hayden Hurst. He tried to get Miles Boykin in on the fun, but by no fault of Lamar’s, Boykin wasn’t ready yet.
Pittman would give the Ravens a True-X receiver, something they showed that they needed desperately in the postseason. By Year 2, with the right coaching, there’s no reason why he couldn’t be a Tier 2 starter in the league. His blocking also lends itself to the Ravens’ style of play.
Anquan Boldin (ARI 2003-2009, BAL 2010-2012, SF 2013-2015, DET 2016)
I might get killed for this, but after Matt comped Chaisson to Khalil Mack, I have no fear. Check these boxes off: big, physical, contested catch, box-out, stalk block, strong hands, needs work vs. press. If Pittman can have 85% of the career that Q had, he should be considered a steal with his draft stock.
Can’t teach size, boys. But it’s a deep class, and while Pittman isn’t exactly underrated, teams will question his production, his ability versus certain coverages, and his ability to create extra yards. He falls, and a team profits from it.