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NFL Draft

Will Kyle Pitts Have Best Rookie TE Season Ever?

  • The Draft Network
  • October 28, 2021
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In a draft dominated by a quarterback-heavy class, the Atlanta Falcons turned heads in their decisions to use their No. 4 draft pick on the 6-foot-6, 245-pound tight end from the University of Florida, Kyle Pitts. The selection marked the highest that a tight end had ever gone in the history of the NFL draft. So, understandably, as the NFL season kicked off the question loomed: Will Pitts live up to the hype? 

The Falcons faced some harsh criticism for their selection because Atlanta was a team that struggled all over the field—from a long-term quarterback standpoint to a nonexistent offensive line to a terrible defense. So why use a No. 4 overall pick on a tight end? Well, because Pitts is the real deal and has the capability of kickstarting the offense. Seven weeks in with Week 8 just on the horizon, Pitts has not only lived up to the hype, but he has surpassed all expectations—and he is just getting started.

After getting off to a relatively slow start, the John Mackey Award winner—an award given to the best tight end in college football—had his breakout game against the New York Jets in Week 6. Pitts accounted for nine receptions for 119 yards and one touchdown.

The following Sunday against the Dolphins, Pitts hit the ground running, putting on an absolutely dominating performance. Pitts had seven receptions for 163 yards, breaking the Falcons’ franchise record for receiving yards by a tight end in a single game.

Pitts has silenced critics, proving that the Falcons made the right decision in drafting him so early. Pitts nearly single-handedly brought victory to Atlanta after his MVP performance against Miami that ended after an eventual game-sealing reception that put the Falcons within field goal range for the 30-28 win. 

But that’s not all, Pitts boasts an astounding 471 receiving yards in total on 31 receptions in the first six games, the most by any tight end in the last 50 years. Currently, Pitts is on pace to reach a total of 1,047 receiving yards by the end of the season, coming in right behind record-holder Mike Ditka at 1,076 receiving yards. The rookie could possibly be having the best rookie season of any tight end in the NFL. But, if Pitts is looking to claim yet another record, he will have to hit the gas—which he will look to do as the Falcons face off against the Carolina Panthers this Sunday.

Making the transition from college to the NFL as a tight end is not easy. There have been many tight ends who have excelled at the college level but have been unable to find the same success on the NFL stage. But Pitts is not your average tight end. Pitts’ size and build allow him to hold his own as a blocker while his quickness and speed make him a deadly threat on the receiving end.

Once in a generation, players arise that redefine the game and what it means to truly be the best. Pitts has the potential to be this generation's greatest tight end. Thus far, Pitts has reinvigorated the tight end position with his unique style of play and sheer athleticism. It will be interesting to see how his NFL future pans out. Right now, the sky’s the limit for the rookie.

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