Would Falcons still take Kyle Pitts in re-do of 2021 NFL draft?

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Hindsight is always 20/20, and nobody likes the “told you so” game more than NFL draft fans. The most notable blunder for the Falcons came during the 2017 draft when Thomas Dimitroff selected Takk McKinley over T. J. Watt. Many fans were clamoring for the former Wisconsin Badger, but nobody truly knew how he was going to turn out. In hindsight, the Falcons obviously would’ve preferred Watt over McKinley. However, in a re-draft of that 2017 class, Watt wouldn’t have even been there for Atlanta to take.

ESPN (subscription required) did this exact exercise with the 2021 draft class. They posed the question, “[w]hat if teams were able to draft armed with the knowledge of how the season turned out for each rookie?”

The Falcons came away with Kyle Pitts, who was the highest-drafted tight end in NFL history. I argued that he, Penei Sewell, and Ja’Marr Chase were the best non-quarterback prospects leading up to last year’s draft. Prior to the draft, I wanted the Falcons to select Sewell to bolster their lackluster offensive line. But if I went back and re-drafted, I’m not entirely sure I would change anything the Falcons did; if I had to change the Pitts pick, I’d probably go with Mac Jones instead. However, Michael Rothstein—author of the previously-mentioned ESPN article—didn’t see it that way. Here’s what he had to say about taking Micah Parsons instead of Pitts.

This has absolutely nothing to do with Pitts, who had a transcendent rookie season and is going to be a star. He was a big reason why Atlanta’s offense had any sort of production. But the Falcons entered and exited the season with the same problem—how to rush the passer. Parsons had 13 sacks, 30 quarterback hits and 3 forced fumbles, creating complete havoc. Among Parsons, Pitts, Ja’Marr Chase and offensive tackles Rashawn Slater and Penei Sewell, the Falcons couldn’t go wrong here in hindsight.

I could probably be convinced that, in hindsight, drafting Parsons would be more beneficial than taking Pitts. Still, Rothstein’s point—that the Falcons can’t go wrong with a fourth overall draft pick—is undoubtedly valid. Parsons, Chase, Slater, Sewell, or Pitts would have all been home-run selections.



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