The Athletic picks one Falcons player to watch during OTAs

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The Falcons, along with every other club, will begin OTAs this week. This is a highly anticipated campaign for the Dirty Birds because, for the first time since the regime took over, there are expectations of making the postseason.

Several facets of the roster will have to live up to the hype, but there are a couple of areas that are more important than others. Desmond Ridder will be the deciding factor, but that’s not who The Athletic’s Mike Jones thinks you should pay attention to during the team’s offseason training activities.

Atlanta Falcons: TE Kyle Pitts

It’s still too early to know whether 2022 third-rounder Desmond Ridder is a capable NFL passer, but the Falcons are giving him the first crack at the job. Meanwhile, they desperately need Pitts, the No. 4 pick in 2021, to step up after a season of regression (28 catches for 356 yards in 10 appearances) followed a 1,000-yard rookie campaign.

Kyle Pitts‘ 2022 campaign was an absolute dud. Everyone and their mothers were disappointed, not just Falcons fans. Atlanta residents and fantasy football managers alike wondered what happened to the generational talent that set franchise and league records during his rookie season.

Was it Arthur Smith? Was it Marcus Mariota? Or… could it be Kyle Pitts’ fault? In reality, it’s probably a combination of all of these, but Pitts is still a freak and capable of taking over a contest in an instant. That’s why I believe Desmond Ridder is the guy to watch.

The Falcons’ playoff chances hinge on Ridder. Sure, throwing against air will never give an accurate representation of what a quarterback will provide in live action, but it’s still something.

How Ridder handles himself during training camp won’t tell us everything, but it will give glimpses of what Falcons fans can expect. All eyes will be and should be on Desmond Ridder this offseason.

David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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