Look at the numbers and you would be hard pressed to say that Dennis Pitta is not one of, if not BYU's best tight end of all time. That being stated, is Pitta even a tight end? The article about Pitta a few weeks ago asked if Pitta was the best ever, and by the numbers he surely is, but what is the actual role of a tight end?
In my football education I was taught that the tight end was the last man on the line. He lines up outside the tackle and is and eligible receiver. His primary role is to block, be it for run or pass plays. As an eligible receiver he can catch passes, and indeed does, but once again primarily blocking responsibilities.
I once played in a rushing program where the tight end caught 5-10 passes a year. He knew his responsibility was to help on the line of scrimmage. In watching BYU's current system Pitta does not fit the role of a traditional tight end, but would be better deemed a slot receiver, an over sized H back, so to speak.
My argument is not about the eye-opening stats of Pitta's career, but rather the category in which he is has been placed. I think that under Rob Anae's current run and gun passing system Pitta is not a traditional tight end and as such should not be compared to the blocking tight end of years past. Pitta spends the majority of his snaps split out as a receiver and as such would need to be compared to slot recievers to make a fair assessment. That is not to take away from him in any way, but to be fair to the tight ends that only get 10-15 balls a year.