2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jalen Pitre

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jalen Pitre

by January 6, 2022 6 comments

Bowl games are now officially in the books, and that means that film for every player in college football on all but two teams is ready to be evaluated. One player involved in a big-time bowl game last week was Baylor’s, Jalen Pitre. While Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral was the story for not opting out of the Sugar Bowl, Pitre chose not to as well, giving the Bears a big boost with the Big 12 defensive player of the year. Now, this versatile, STAR position safety looks ahead to the draft. Pitre has a ton of talent, but weaknesses and size could overshadow his stardom when it comes down to draft time. Can Pitre make it in the NFL? Let’s find out. 

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio 

Name: Jalen Pitre

Jersey: No. 8

Position: Safety

School: Baylor

Class: Redshirt Senior 

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 197 lbs

Games Watched: Oklahoma State (2021), Oklahoma (2021), BYU (2021)

Major Injury History: Torn ACL (High School)

Player Breakdown

Instincts (13.5/15)

Instincts for a safety are always an intriguing part of the evaluation, and they are even more so with Pitre. Pitre plays out of the STAR position at Baylor as we previously mentioned, so he’s tasked with a ton of different looks and starting spots on the field. He’s shown good instincts throughout his career, no matter where he is, and the only real complaint is overdoing it. Pitre is used against the run to a very high degree, and sometimes he flies in and over-commits. Other than this, there are no severe issues with Pitre’s instincts.

Range/ Closing Speed (14.5/15)

This is Pitre’s best on-field attribute. We haven’t seen him have to go from a single-high safety position and get over to someone, but he demonstrates range and closing speed in different ways. In the first play of the Oklahoma game, this is evident. Pitre has unreal speed and can get to the ball carrier instantly. You’ll also see Pitre get outside and disrupt screens with ease utilizing his elite range.

Man Coverage (8/10)

Pitre is pretty solid in man coverage. He allows an average of 9.2 yards per reception and has gotten his hands involved in many pass breakups. There have been some times where Pitre gets ousted in the slot, but these are mostly on inside intermediate routes that you’d expect the receiver to win. There have been some shouts for Pitre to be a tight-end disrupter in the NFL, and he has the coverage capabilities to do so, although his strength may be the argument against this narrative. Overall, man coverage won’t be Pitre’s strong suit in the NFL, but it won’t hold him back either.

Zone Coverage (8.5/10)

The instincts and speed create massive potential in zone coverage. He has a good IQ in zone coverage and often does well on flat coverages. The deeper he goes, the more unpolished Pitre’s zone gets, but it’s never to the amount where it’s an issue at all. Pitre will continue to get better in zone coverage and has a great baseline for the next level.

Ball Skills (8/10)

When you initially look at Pitre’s stats regarding ball skills, you see only four interceptions across five years. Then, you see two touchdowns from these four and get a little excited. Finally, you see ten pass deflections across his career and seven in 2021. The numbers keep getting better in the area of ball skills, and it shows on film. Pitre is clean when getting his hands in the play, and we see yet another area where Pitre sits in a good position for the next level.

Change of Direction (8.75/10)

If you haven’t guessed by now, Pitre does everything well. We’ve talked about the speed Pitre has, and it translates into his overall change of direction. Pitre can get into action and make the necessary adjustments to angle his route at the ball carrier very well. When dropping into coverage, you can see a natural hip fluidity that he uses to his advantage.

Tackling/ Run Support (8/10)

This trait is two-fold. On one end, Pitre is an elite run stopper, maybe the best in the class at the safety position. On the other, he’s not a very good tackler. The run supportability is seen throughout his tape and Pitre can really wow you here. Tackling, however, he’s very inconsistent. There have been misses, poor angles taken, and getting overpowered. He has made some great tackles, though, but needs to improve here to be serviceable in the NFL.

Versatility (9/10)

Pitre’s versatility can be attributed to the likes of Jevon Holland‘s. Holland was a big wild-card last year in terms of talent projections. There was no denying he had the versatility, and Holland has turned out great for the Miami Dolphins. Pitre has been used almost everywhere for Baylor, and NFL scouts will start to drool over this versatility once we get into true draft season.

Athleticism (7.5/10)

We will mention the speed yet again. It’s elite. The jumping ability is there too, but it’s clear that Pitre’s weakness on the field is his strength. For one, Pitre is a tad undersized in both his height and overall frame. He needs to fill out more while preparing for the NFL, but that could hurt the elite speed. Strength will determine his entire career. If he can put on more; and keep the speed, we are looking at an electric NFL safety. If he can’t, that coverage ability is going to get tested over and over because he won’t be able to blitz much. This will put his defense on edge, and they’ll hope he masters the coverage technique that he has set a great baseline for.

Player Summary

The more you look at Pitre, the more there is to like. He’s a do-it-all safety which is something seen more and more of in the NFL. You’d like to see more weight and strength put on, but we will see how Pitre does at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine to make a final determination on if he has true next-level strength to compete in the NFL. Overall, Pitre is a player who is just criminally underrated. As the draft cycle progresses, there should be more talk centered around Pitre, but for now, he is another fantastic option in this loaded safety class.

Rookie Projection: High-end Rotational Safety

Third-Year Projection: Starting Free-Safety

Final Grade (85.75/100): Late-first Round

Pro Comparison: Jevon Holland

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