February 24, 2024

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Art Shines Through

2022 NFL draft scouting report: Baylor S Jalen Pitre

Baylor S Jalen Pitre

5-foot-11
198 pounds

Yahoo Sports’ 2022 NFL draft grade

5.69 — possible second-rounder; starter potential

TL;DR scouting report

Feisty, highly instinctive hybrid defender who will be a coaching staff’s dream … if it can figure out the best way to use him

The skinny

A 3-star Rivals recruit in the Class of 2016, Pitre committed to the Bears and stuck with his commitment after Matt Rhule replaced Art Briles as coach. Pitre played in all 12 games at linebacker, starting eight as a true freshman and totaling 37 tackles (three TFLs), one sack and one pass breakup. In 2018, he played in 13 games (one start), making 11 tackles (two TFLs).

In 2019, Pitre appeared in four games, making 12 tackles (1.5 TFLs) and one sack and taking a redshirt season (shoulder injury). He broke out in 2020, starting all nine games and totaling 60 tackles (13 TFLs), 2.5 sacks, two interceptions (both returned for TDs), four PDs and one forced fumble. Pitre started all 14 games in 2021, with 75 tackles (18.5 TFLs), 3.5 sacks, two INTs, seven PDs, three forced fumbles and three recoveries. He attended the 2022 Senior Bowl.

WACO, TX -NOVEMBER 27: Nove Jalen Pitre #8 of the Baylor Bears reacts against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the second half at McLane Stadium on mber 27, 2021 in Waco, Texas. Baylor won 27-24. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

WACO, TX -NOVEMBER 27: Nove Jalen Pitre #8 of the Baylor Bears reacts against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the second half at McLane Stadium on mber 27, 2021 in Waco, Texas. Baylor won 27-24. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Upside

  • Turned in better-than-expected 40 time (4.46 seconds), with impressive 10-yard split (1.53)

  • Terrific short-area burst and agility

  • Tough target for blockers to hit squarely

  • Maximizes his physical skills to wear a ton of hats on Baylor defense

  • Great burst and effectiveness as a blitzer — always seems to make impact felt

  • Takes good angles to the ball

  • Reactive quickness to handle slot duties

  • Dangerous playmaker — 4 INTs last two seasons, two pick-sixes

  • Toughness is off the charts as a run defender — sells out to make the play

  • Football instincts shave time off timed speed

  • Tone setter — hell-on-wheels play style can light fire under a unit

  • Highly versatile — impacts game in multiple ways from variety of positions

  • Disciplined player — nine career penalties in more than 2,100 defensive snaps

  • Terrific special-teams experience and footprint — ideal “core” contributor

  • Loves the game and gives maximum effort every time out

  • Staff roundly praised his work ethic, football IQ and film study habits

Downside

  • Small frame that won’t thrive as readily amidst the big boys

  • Average to below-average strength

  • Checking bigger tight ends and backs might be a big ask

  • Coverage duties might be limited to slot

  • Taxed by double moves and sharp routes in coverage

  • Can tighten up his steps in man coverage

  • Positional fit is key — does he have range to play deep safety?

  • Doesn’t always finish — too many missed tackle attempts

  • Will come in too hot and overrun plays

  • Once he’s blocked he tends to stay blocked — trouble disengaging

  • Some injury history — high-school ACL injury, shoulder in 2019

  • On older side — turns 23 in June

Best-suited destination

Pitre’s pro projection is hindered by where to play him. Some teams might not consider him a pure fit in their system if they’re not comfortable with his slot coverage every snap. Pitre’s blitzing ability certainly adds a layer to his evaluation, and his special-teams makeup almost guarantees him steady work early in his career. But unlocking his playmaking potential will require defenses to unleash him in something of a hybrid role — with slot, safety and blitz duties combined.

Did you know

Pitre was the only Art Briles signee in his class who stayed at Baylor after Briles was fired.

Player comp

Rodney McLeod

Expected draft range

Top 60