Execs, coaches, scouts not concerned with Kyle Pitts in latest ESPN rankings

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ESPN is continuing its series ranking the best players at each position via a poll of executives, coaches, and scouts around the league. 

Several Falcons have made appearances in some capacity. A.J. Terrell and Jessie Bates were included in their respective positional rankings, while Grady Jarrett received votes. Chris Lindstrom was one of the top guards, and Tyler Allgeier could appear as well, but for right now, it’s Kyle Pitts who was ranked as the seventh-best tight end in football.

Below is the full rankings, including honorable mentions and others receiving votes.

  1. Travis Kelce
  2. George Kittle
  3. Mark Andrews
  4. Dallas Goedert
  5. Darren Waller
  6. T.J. Hockenson
  7. Kyle Pitts
  8. Evan Engram
  9. Pat Freiermuth
  10. Dawson Knox

Honorable mentions: Dalton Schultz, David Njoku, Noah Fant, Tyler Higbee, Hunter Henry, Cole Kmet

Other receiving votes: Mike Gesicki, Gerald Everett, Zach Ertz, Logan Thomas, Juwan Johnson, Josh Oliver

Here’s what Jeremy Fowler said in the piece:

Highest ranking: 2 | Lowest ranking: Unranked
Age: 22 | Last year’s ranking: 4

Similar to Waller, injuries stunted Pitts’ momentum.

After a 1,026-yard season — the second most by a rookie tight end in NFL history — Pitts missed seven games of his sophomore campaign and produced 28 catches for 356 yards and two scores in the 10 games he played.

One caveat: 26% of the passes thrown his way last season were considered off-target. More catchable passes thrown his way should help him return to form.

“I feel bad for Pitts. It’s not his fault he doesn’t get the ball,” an AFC scout said.

The promise of Pitts, an all-world talent, is still very much intact. And it would be no surprise if he’s top-five or higher next year.

“Big, athletic tight end with elite speed,” an NFC coordinator said. “He’s the biggest matchup concern when you play them [the Falcons]. Not much of a blocker but can help in that area.”

After Pitts’ record-breaking rookie campaign, in which he almost broke Mike Ditka‘s all-time receiving record for a tight end, he was ranked as the fourth-best tight end. Though he fell three spots, nobody should be worried. As one AFC Scout said, “It’s not his fault if he doesn’t get the ball.”

The highest tight end drafted in league history had his production hampered by inconsistent quarterback play and a lack of opportunities. The Falcons ran the ball more than just about anyone in the league, limiting the number of targets Pitts garnered compared to the 2021 season.

Moreover, Arthur Smtih regularly took the ball out of Marcus Mariota‘s hands. Even when Mariota did throw the ball, it generally was off-target. In fact, Pitts’ off-target rate led the league last year.

It’s only a matter of time before Kyle Pitts is the best player at his position.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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