Kyle Pitts’ career hasn’t gone exactly how he, the Falcons, or fans initially imagined.
After a 1,000+ yard season in 2021 en route to a Pro Bowl, he put up a mere 356 yards in a season that ended prematurely due to an injury. Disappointing is an understatement, but it wasn’t all on Pitts. It takes two to tango.
Atlanta’s quarterback play was atrocious for the most part and was the driving factor in Pitts’ struggles. Marcus Mariota was dangerous with his feet but dangerous to the Falcons with his arm.
The Falcons pass catchers were among the league leaders in off-target rates in 2022. Pitts led the league by a large margin; 29% of targets were deemed off-target. For a guy who is 6-foot-6 with a record-breaking wingspan, it seems impossible for Mariota to miss him that much.
All Desmond Ridder had to do was be better than his predecessor, which wasn’t a very high bar to clear. Well, through three games, the quarterback change hasn’t changed anything for Kyle Pitts.
TE target leaders/catchable target% (Weeks 1-3)
- T.J. Hockenson- 28/ 89%
- Sam LaPorta- 22/ 82%
- Evan Engram- 21/ 95%
- Zach Ertz- 20/ 90%
- Darren Waller- 20/ 80%
- George Kittle- 18/ 89%
- Hunter Henry- 18/ 83%
- Kyle Pitts- 17/ 53%
- Jake Ferguson- 17/ 88%
- Travis Kelce- 17/94%
Essentially, Kyle Pitts has been targeted 17 times, which is tied for the 8th-most among tight ends. 9 of those 17 passes were considered catchable targets. The next closest is Darren Waller, whose rate is nearly 30% higher than Pitts.
Hopefully, Desmond Ridder and the Falcons offense clean things up this week in London because it’s beginning to look like Atlanta wasted a 4th overall pick. Pitts is still a generational talent, but it’s Arthur Smith isn’t maximizing that talent.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire