Coming out of the draft, Kyle Pitts was the highest touted non-quarterback prospect by a large margin. Many argued the former Florida Gator was the surest prospect from the 2021 draft class and the most likely to make it into Canton. Physically, he can do it all. Pitts can run the entire route tree from any alignment against any coverage. He can make contested catches and still hurt defenses after the catch. There isn’t a long list of what Pitts can’t do on a football field.
Sooner or later, he’ll eclipse every tight end record, and he’s already making waves in his first season. Sunday against the Bills, Pitts became the first rookie tight end in 60 years to top 1,000 receiving yards. On a 61-yard catch and run, Pitts reached back and caught a pass from Matt Ryan, then turned upfield to set up a Falcons touchdown. On the play, he delivered a vicious stiff arm on his way to eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark. But that wasn’t the only record he broke on the play. Pitts also became the Falcons’ all-time leading rookie receiver, which Julio Jones held for a decade.
Those aren’t the only records, though. Against the Lions, Pitts passed Tony Gonzalez for the most single-season receiving yards in team history from a tight end. Pitts was rewarded for his outstanding season after being named to the Pro Bowl, the first rookie tight end to make it since Jeremy Shockey in 2002. He’s been everything and more the Falcons had hoped.
“He’s been exactly who we thought he was,” Arthur Smith said via Michael Rothstein of ESPN. “He’s impacted games immensely. Even [when] the ball hasn’t found his way. He’s not even scratching the surface.”
Now, as the Falcons head into the season finale against the Saints, Pitts has a chance to set the all-time rookie tight end receiving record. Mike Ditka tallied 1,076 yards in 1961, 58 yards more than Pitts currently has. He tweaked his hamstring against the Bills, so his status for the Saints game is up in the air; however, we could see history unfold in Mercedes Benz Stadium this Sunday.