Falcons rookie Kyle Pitts named one of the 25 most intriguing players for 2021 NFL season

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Sheil Kapadia creates a list before every season of the 25 most intriguing players for the upcoming season. This isn’t a list of the best 25; to give you an idea of the parameters, Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa was ranked fifth after an unimpressive rookie campaign in 2020.

The Falcons had one member appear on the list — Kyle Pitts. The fourth-overall pick was the talk of the draft, given how the league hasn’t seen anything like former Florida Gator. One of the highest-profile rookies in recent memory, Pitts was bound to be included in lists like these. Generally speaking, rookie tight ends underperform in their first season in the league, but Pitts isn’t like most rookie tight ends.

It’s probably not fair, but the expectations for Pitts are that he’ll deliver the best rookie season for a tight end in recent memory. That’s just part of the deal when you get drafted fourth overall.

Jeremy Shockey had 894 yards in 2002 — the most by a rookie tight end in the past 20 years. Evan Engram had 722 yards in 2017 — the most by a rookie tight end in the last 10 years.

There’s reason to believe that Pitts can crush those marks. New head coach Arthur Smith has shown an aptitude for unlocking his most talented players, and Pitts very well could be the Falcons’ second option immediately, behind Calvin Ridley.

Obviously, the Falcons offense is in the midst of an installation period, so what the media has seen is just the bones of Arthur Smith’s scheme. Still, in those few practices, we have watched Smith move Pitts from the boundary to the slot and then in line with his hand in the dirt. I fully expect Smith to feature Pitts as much as he does Calvin Ridley, so the Jeremy Shockey and Evan Engram seasons are certainly attainable. What I am so intrigued about is how Smith attacks defenses with Pitts because he can beat defenders at all three levels and in any alignment; there truly has never been a player like Pitts.




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