Falcons TE Kyle Pitts is “just scratching the surface”

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Kyle Pitts is already one of the league’s best tight ends. During his rookie year, he was named to the Pro Bowl and was the first rookie TE to do it since Jeremy Shockey in 2002. He broke a bevy of franchise records and nearly eclipsed Mike Ditka‘s league rookie receiving record for a tight end. Outside of touchdowns, Pitts was also among the NFL’s best tight ends in every statistical category and posted a league-leading 15.1 yards per catch.

He’s special. That’s what you get with the highest-drafted tight end in NFL draft history. However, there were moments last season where he disappeared. Defenses rolled coverages his way, bracketed him, and basically threw all 11 guys towards stopping him; unfortunately, it worked. He was held to under 50 yards six times and still finished with the third most yards at his position. It’s scary to think what he could become once he better understands how defenses are trying to defend him, and the Falcons have more weapons to alleviate the pressure around him.

The people inside the building know this better than anyone. Arthur Smith, for one, will attest to the incredible ceiling the young man out of Florida possesses. “With all these rookies, everything’s new to them. New environment, new team, new staff and new terminology,” Smith said. “As you’ve seen with Kyle, as he progressed through last season – I’ve said this many times – he’s just scratching the surface. You see a different player and mindset.”

It’s almost unfathomable to imagine him developing mentally and physically more than he already has; after all, many consider him one of the best at his position already. The Falcons seemingly grabbed another Hall of Fame-caliber receiving threat right after trading away one of the greatest receivers of all time in Julio Jones.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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