Hall of Fame tight end praises Falcons TE Kyle Pitts

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Before the Julio Jones trade, Kyle Pitts would be fighting for targets from Matt Ryan with a future first-ballot Hall of Famer and Calvin Ridley, who was just named to his first All-Pro team. Now, he’s set to see a majority of the targets, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he led the team in targets over Ridley in Arthur Smith’s tight end-centric offense.

Kyle Pitts will be the face of the Falcons for years to come, and it won’t be long until he’s one of the faces of the entire league. He’s one of the highest-profile rookies in recent memory because of his college production and record-breaking physical abilities. It wouldn’t be out of the question to say the rookie seasons of Jeremy Shockey and Evan Engram are attainable. Shockey had 894 yards in 2002, which is the most by a rookie tight end in the past 20 years, and Evan Engram had 722 yards in 2017, which is the most by a rookie tight end in the last 10 years.

As I’ve said too many times to count, Arthur Smith will use Pitts in a bevy of alignments. Not only can he align on the boundary, in the slot, in line, in motion and in the backfield, but he can also run the entire route tree from any of them against any coverage — off-man, press-man, off-zone, etc. Even though he hasn’t played a single snap yet, the excitement is palpable, and his latest compliments come from an all-time great Falcon.

“I think Kyle is going to have an outstanding year,” Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez said. “He’s got Calvin Ridley on the other side to take the pressure off because he’ll be the No. 1 option it looks like. He’ll get a lot of one-on-one match ups and when he’s covered, he’s not covered.”

“I’ve got to believe that in the red zone Kyle will be used a lot,” Gonzalez said. “Just line him out there and throw the ball up in the air. Get him one-on-one, nobody will be able to guard him.”

This comes just shortly after the rookie tight end received praise from his quarterback.

“Watching him on TV, you could see this guy could make some plays. From throwing with Kyle early on, he’s got great range and is extremely long,” Matt Ryan said. “Tight end can be difficult at first because you have so many different job requirements. You have to be physical, and you have to understand the scheme, plus you’re heavily involved in the passing game. It can be overwhelming, but he’s done a great job in camp paying attention to the details.”

Pitts isn’t like anyone in the league; he’s faster, longer, and more agile than every tight end. He’s a certified freak that can line up anywhere on the field and run every route on the tree. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if he finishes with the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

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