The Falcons went from one generational pass catcher to another when they traded Julio Jones and drafted Kyle Pitts in the same offseason. As the highest-picked tight end in league history, expectations were sky-high, but Pitts had very few issues during his rookie season, already establishing himself as one of the best in the league at his position.
Pitts hauled in 68 receptions for 1,026 yards, an average of 15.1 yards per catch, en route to the Pro Bowl. He ranked among the league’s best at his position in nearly every stat — tied for seventh in receptions but was third in receiving yards, giving him the highest yards per reception average. For perspective, Noah Fant recorded the same amount of receptions but totaled only 670 yards, which is a difference of over 350 yards.
Pitts also broke a bevy of records. He passed Tony Gonzalez for the most single-season receiving yards in team history from a tight end and was the first rookie tight end to make the Pro Bowl since Jeremy Shockey in 2002. Pitts also became the first rookie tight end in 60 years to surpass 1,000 receiving yards and became Atlanta’s all-time rookie receiving yards leader, a title previously held by Julio Jones for a decade.
The former Florida Gator finished the season 50 yards shy of Mike Ditka’s rookie receiving record for tight ends. Despite coming up short, though, Pitts was sensational by every metric. He had the most contested catches of all tight ends, which isn’t surprising given his size and ball skills. Moreover, Pitts ranked FIRST among all WIDE RECEIVERS in yards per route run on the boundary.
And he’s doing Kyle Pitts things in training camp yet again:
Kyle Pitts is doing Kyle Pitts things — get used to hearing that. He’s a generational talent and will revolutionize the tight end position even more than Travis Kelce has done in Kansas City. One of the greatest to ever play the position, Kelce has high praise for Pitts and has said on multiple occasions that the youngster in Atlanta will eventually break all of his records.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire