The Falcons have only had a few nationally renowned players that are recognizable regardless of which part of the United States you’re asking. Deion Sanders and Michael Vick are two that immediately come to mind, but Julio Jones was once the best wide receiver in football.
If you’re a fan of the NFL, wherever you live, you know precisely who those three players are. Even though Matt Ryan, Grady Jarrett, and Calvin Ridley are notable players around league circles, they don’t have the national recognition that Deion, Mike Vick, or even Julio had when they played in Atlanta.
However, there is one player that will one day match the vast notoriety of those three players — Kyle Pitts. The former Florida Gator was one of the most highly-touted prospects coming out of college in quite some time; the Falcons made him the highest-drafted tight end in league history after he broke nearly every NFL Combine record.
Pitts finished his rookie year with a litany of new records, totaling 68 receptions for 1,026 yards, averaging 15.1 yards per reception. He became the first rookie tight end in 60 years to surpass 1,000 receiving yards; he’s also Atlanta’s all-time rookie receiving yards leader, a title previously held by Julio Jones for a decade. Pitts passed Tony Gonzalez for the most single-season receiving yards in team history from a tight end and was rewarded with a spot in the Pro Bowl — the first rookie tight end to make the Pro Bowl since Jeremy Shockey in 2002. Kyle also finished the season just short of Mike Ditka’s rookie receiving record for tight ends, which Ditka set in 1961 after totaling 1,076 yards. Despite coming up short of Ditka’s record, Pitts was a sensational rookie by most metrics.
After just one season as a professional, Pitts is becoming a household name across the country. So much so that he has the top-selling jersey in Montana, which is over 2,000 miles away from Atlanta, Georgia.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 7, 2022
By the end of his career in Atlanta, Pitts will hold many franchise and league records, which will only add to his status as one of the most recognizable players in the league.