Falcons’ Kyle Pitts completely disrespected in CBS tight end rankings

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The Falcons’ new regime hasn’t approached the draft traditionally. They operate on a best player available strategy, and it resulted in making Kyle Pitts the highest-drafted tight end in league history.

For better or worse, the Falcons are sticking to their guns. Initially, it seemed like a home run selection. Pitts broke numerous franchise records en route to a Pro Bowl appearance and nearly broke Mike Ditka‘s all-time record for yards by a rookie tight end.

Everyone and their mothers praised Pitts. Travis Kelce, Greg Olsen, Tony Gonzalez, Bill Belichick, etc., showered the former fourth overall pick with compliments. However, his sophomore campaign left much to be desired.

After posting 1,026 receiving yards in 2021, Pitts had just 356 receiving yards in 10 games last season before tearing his MCL. He was on pace to eclipse just north of 600 yards in one of the more disappointing seasons by a Falcons player.

Still, the potential is limitless with a freak like Pitts, but he’s still somehow not considered elite at his position. CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan ranked him as the tenth-best tight end in the league:

Kyle Pitts was one of the more frustrating players to try and place on this list. From a talent standpoint, he’s among the very best at the position and probably should be higher than 10. He was impressive as a rookie and put together a 1,000-yard season out of the gate, but Pitts has gone downhill since so we’ll settle on him just sneaking in here.

He played 10 games last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury, but the games he did take part in didn’t leave much to get excited about. Atlanta’s offense didn’t feature him as a primary weapon and had just 28 receptions while averaging 35.6 yards per game. He also caught just 47.5% of his targets. Again, that may speak more to the Falcons offensive approach last season than to Pitts’ ability, but it hasn’t been a rousing start to the No. 4 overall pick’s highly anticipated career. If he can rebound from this injury and Atlanta throws the football more with second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Pitts return to form and look more like a top-five tight end. In the meantime, we’ll keep him at 10. 

Let’s dismantle this, folks.

Firstly, I’ll address Pitts. The phenom’s production was 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. Arthur Smtih regularly took the ball out of Marcus Mariota‘s hands. Moreover, when Mariota did throw the ball, it generally was off-target. In fact, Pitts’ 30% off-target rate led the league last year.

Secondly, Sullivan’s rankings are flawed. I get Pitts underdelivered last year, but so did Darren Waller because of injury, and he still ranked as the sixth-best tight end. Additionally, David Njoku was ranked ahead of Pitts after posting career highs in receptions (58) and yards (628). So, let me get this straight. Injuries are being held against Pitts, but not Waller, and Njoku’s career year is right on par with what Pitts was on track to put up in a down year… that doesn’t add up as the tenth-best tight end.

The fact of the matter is Kyle Pitts is oozing with talent and will establish himself in the conversation with Travis Kelce at some point in time.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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