Kyle Pitts was drafted #4 overall in the 2021 draft and for good reason. I mean, what could you not like when you see a guy catch 43 passes for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in 8 games. That’s as dominant as dominant gets and it’s the way Pitts did it that really grabbed scout’s attention. He moved with such fluidity and purpose in his routes that it was hard for scouts to not notice. Pitts will most likely fill the Julio Jones-shaped hole in the Atlanta offense and will look to have a great statistical year in his first year as a pro.
The only way to describe Pitts is as a freak of nature. The guy is 6’6” 240lbs with an 83” wingspan and ran a 4.44 40 yard dash. Pitts is unique even amongst the best athletes in the world and is such a superior talent that Atlanta couldn’t trade out of their pick. As mentioned above, Pitts crushed the SEC competition he faced in college. Everyone around that conference knew you needed to limit, notice I didn’t say stop because that’s impossible, as much as possible and no one could do it. Pitts was the consensus most talented prospect in the draft and only wasn’t drafted #1 overall because he plays TE. Pitts will help Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offense in a big way this upcoming season.
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Skill players have an easier time transitioning to the NFL and Pitts will be no exception. With Pitts’ route-running ability and the way he effortlessly glides down the field, there’s a reason Atlanta fended off-trade offers for the rights to draft Pitts. Now he enters an Atlanta that loves to air it out and throw it deep. This perfectly suits Pitts’ play style and he should feast in this scheme. For Pitts, I see an initial period where he kills defenses in the early weeks. Then he will cool down when people gather more tape on him and figure out a way to defend him. But then Atlanta will figure out a way to get him the ball and he will kill burn people again for the last couple of weeks. Pitts is going to have a really good year in his first season in the NFL.
ADP & Auction Value
ADP: 121, Rounds 10-11, TE13
Auction Value: $12
Pitts is all over the place in the expert’s rankings. Some have him as high as the 5th TE and others have him as the 13th TE. The talent pops off the screen with Pitts, the issue is we haven’t seen it on the NFL level yet. But usually, when you destroy the college landscape, you can probably do something similar to it in the NFL. Pitts plays similarly to Travis Kelce and is more of a receiving threat than a blocking tight end. Pitts should be a big piece in the Atlanta offense and should make anyone who didn’t draft him look stupid.
The big question with Pitts is if he can transition his college game to the pro level. He’s dynamic, fast, and quick in the open field and the measurables help support that. But will he be mentally prepared to handle a full NFL season? Remember, he only played 8 games last season because of the pandemic and his own injuries and has only played 24 games in his 3 seasons with Florida. During his time with the Gators, Pitts has had minor foot, nose, and head injuries. Now those are only little concerns for Pitts and I expect him to cement himself as a top 10 fantasy tight end for this season and for seasons to come.
Did you see the type of numbers Julio Jones put up in Atlanta? That’s what I could see happen to Kyle Pitts. Jones put up Hall of Fame numbers with the Falcons and since Julio and Pitts are not that different, I could see Pitts putting up fantastic numbers. Pitts has all of the size, speed, hands, catch radius, and route running necessary to succeed and he has a great quarterback in Matt Ryan who can get him the ball. Pitts is setting himself up for a nice top 10 fantasy TE finish this season.
Atlanta Falcons Offense
I have no clue what’s wrong with the Atlanta offense. On paper, they seem like a team that should score 40 points a game. They have Matt Ryan, who can throw for 4,000 yards in a season on command, Calvin Ridley, who can break any DB’s ankles with the way he moves down the field, and Hayden Hurst, who is the reliable check-down every offense needs. And now they add the overall best receiver in the draft in Kyle Pitts to give them another threat down the field. That should be enough to make every defense curl up into the fetal position. But the running joke online is that only the Falcons can stop the Falcons and it’s true. Last season the Falcons only scored touchdowns on 50% of their red-zone trips, which ranked 29th in the league, when they got to the red-zone 3.7 times a game, which ranked 11th in the league. Hopefully, Dave Ragone and the Atlanta coaching staff can fix their red-zone struggles so that everyone can prosper in fantasy.
Strength of Schedule
Finishing 4-12 the season before has its perks as the Falcons play the 3rd easiest schedule this season. For this season, the Falcons play the Buccaneers, Saints, and Panthers twice and the NFC East, AFC East, Jaguars, Lions, and 49ers. I don’t see them finishing as badly as last season because there are some very winnable games on their schedule. Like their games against the Jaguars, Lions, Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, Jets, and Panthers can all be won. The problem is that they also have to play against better teams than them like the Football Team, Patriots, Dolphins, Bills, Saints, 49ers, and Buccaneers. With all of that said, I predict that the Falcons will finish in the middle of the pack, somewhere around an 8-9 record, and be stuck in the no man’s land of the NFL.
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