Jalen Pitre could be on the New England Patriots’ radar due to the recent approach to the offseason. Belichick seems to have loaded interchangeable defensive backs such as Jabrill Peppers or Jalen Mills last offseason.
Jonathan Jones also gave everyone a glimpse of how the Patriots see their secondary heading into 2022 with his tweet declaring “positionless football is the future.”
If “positionless football” is indeed the future, this pick would help put the Patriots ahead. Mixed with Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips, Kyle Dugger, Peppers and Jones, Pitre could star in a variety of roles.
Let’s take a look:
Name: Jalen Pitre
The school: Baylor
Cut: 5-11 198
40 times: 4.46
10 yard split: 1.53
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20 meter shuttle: 4.15
Long jump : 09′ 11″
Bench Press: 16
Athletic capacity, morphology, versatility, durability: Pitre is an excellent athlete in a safe position. His explosiveness and speed allow him to cover the court and make plays anywhere on the court. He has a good build for the position. Pitre was used as a defensive chess piece in the Baylor defence. He has snaps at the safety, at the corner of the slot, at the cantilever position and even in the box along the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in high school, but Baylor never took his scholarship offer off the table. Pitre rewarded them with excellent play for five years. He had an injury in 2019 which allowed him to wear a red shirt that season. He has been very resilient over the past two seasons, not missing a game.
Coverage Man/Coaster/Hips: Pitre is an interesting prospect given that he played a slot machine corner. Still, he has few tight man-to-man coverage reps where he had to backtrack, which is what I saw on film. This is something evaluators want to know more about to understand his game. He had a few reps in tight man-to-man coverage against tight ends, where he was able to block their release off the line of scrimmage, disrupting their routes and timing. A lot of teams that have off-man coverage usually have that defender eight yards off the ball. In the Baylor defence, I saw Pitre at least 12 yards from the ball consistently. It was a mix of man and area coverage principles. This is similar to how Notre Dame used Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah who was picked by the Browns in the second round last year. Pitre has terrific speed, burst, acceleration and hip fluidity to be effective in covering man-to-man.
Coverage area: Pitre has many area coverage reps on his film. Pitre’s reach really shows on film when he uses his terrific speed and closing flurry to quickly swallow ground. He can sink his hips and change direction quickly. It can read and react quickly by recognizing route combinations and area coverage concepts. He has the ability to close in on the ball as soon as he gets close to his target.
Deep Cover, Ball Skills: Pitre has the speed and all-around skill to be a safety without a deep center field, but Baylor chose not to use him that way. Due to Pitre playing in the entire roster, he has a modest production in the ball skill category. He has two picks in each of the last two years, which are also the only picks in his career. He had 7 PBUs last season. That doesn’t mean he can’t be dynamic in that area, we just haven’t seen him consistently on film due to other factors.
Running Support, Tackle, Blitz: Pitre has experience in the box and on the LOS, he shows a desire to be an asset in the running game. He is a formidable defender when he is on the LOS. His speed and burst allow him to track down runners on the front side. He can shoot gaps and dodge blockers due to his speed and burst. He also likes to dive and go under blockers on his way to the ball carrier. Pitre had 18 tackles for loss last season! That’s a remarkably high number for a security. He has 36 tackles for loss in his career at Baylor. He displays heavy hands when engaged with blockers. He wins against running backs and tight ends much more often in the face-off than he does against offensive linemen. Lacks good playing strength to get out of blocks by linemen. He is a good tackler in the open field, even if he tackles high sometimes. He can sometimes take bad angles, which leads to bad tackles, but that’s not common, so it’s not alarming, but it is noticeable. He can plant his foot in the ground and descend quickly. He has a great first step/down during the LOS blitz. When he goes down fast, he can crush the ball carrier in pass protection, which is impressive considering his weight. He is by no means a nuanced passing thrower, which is expected of a safety.
At the end of the line : Pitre is one of the new breed of defenders who define positionless football. Isaiah Simmons and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah are two very recent examples of out-of-position football players who were recently drafted. I believe Pitre will primarily be an NFL safety, but creative defensive coordinators will have fun using him all over their scheme. I think a team can also use it heavily as a corner. The draft is about traits and Pitre has the traits to be a very good player at the NFL level. His band exudes speed and explosiveness. First-team All-American shares similarities in style of play and role usage in college with Antoine Winfield Jr. I expect Pitre to be a top 50 pick.