The Falcons are a young, budding roster with some real superstars in the making. AJ Terrell is knocking on the door, and he’s followed closely by Kyle Pitts. The former fourth overall pick and highest-drafted tight end ever took the league by storm during his rookie season, making him one of the best tight ends in football already.
Pitts totaled 68 receptions (7th among tight ends) for 1,026 yards (3rd) — an average of 15.1 yards per catch (1st) — on his way to a trip to the Pro Bowl. He was the first rookie tight end to do so since Jeremy Shockey in 2002. He had the most contested catches of all tight ends, but that isn’t the only record/accolade he earned in 2021.
Pitts became the first rookie tight end in 60 years to surpass 1,000 receiving yards and also became Atlanta’s all-time rookie receiving yards leader, a title previously held by Julio Jones for a decade. Pitts finished the season 50 yards shy of Mike Ditka’s rookie receiving record for tight ends as well. Moreover, he’s garnering attention from former players.
Most recently, Falcons’ great Roddy White sang Pitts’ praises. In an interview with Kris Rhim of the Falcons, White compared Pitts to one of, if not the greatest tight end of all time — Tony Gonzalez.
This is weird — I don’t think we’ve said Kyle Pitts’ name?
Oh, yeahhh. [Roddy laughs hysterically]
Man, the unicorn. That guy, I mean, he does everything, man Kyle. Last year he came in and just destroyed every tight end record. He’s so versatile, man. He can play outside, can play inside, and create separation. He’s a mismatch just waiting to happen, man. He’s already a Pro Bowler, but I predict he’ll be All-Pro the next 7, 8, 9, 10 years.
I played with Tony Gonzalez, who I consider the best tight end to ever play football, but this guy has everything [Tony] has and more.
That is great company to keep. This comparison is even more intriguing because Pitts passed Tony G for the most single-season receiving yards in team history from a tight end this past season. The Falcons have another potential Hall of Fame pass catcher, and fans should be thrilled he’s in Atlanta.
Photographer: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire