The Atlanta Falcons have soaring expectations for Kyle Pitts after making him the highest-drafted tight end in NFL history.
The former Florida Gator went fourth in the 2021 NFL Draft after Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance, in that order.
The Falcons bucked the quarterback trend because they still have 2016 league MVP, Matt Ryan.
There’s no reason to get Ryan’s successor because he threw for 4,581 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2020.
What the 36-year-old quarterback needs are more weapons around him, and Pitts is an answer.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 7, 2021
Before Pitts, Riley Odoms was the earliest tight end drafted when he went to the Denver Broncos with the fifth pick in the 1972 draft.
The draft story of the 2020 John Mackey awardee is comparable to that of Calvin Johnson.
Their strong performance during pre-draft workouts gained them attention from team scouts.
Johnson proved that his combine numbers were no fluke and became a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee.
Calvin Johnson: only player 6-foot-5 or taller to run a 40-yard dash in under 4.40 sec at the combine since 2006 pic.twitter.com/qSBmYD60Jn
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 8, 2016
That said, the Falcons will hit the home run if Pitts follows the same narrative.
He is a matchup nightmare if he can manifest his physical gifts he showed during his pro day.
His height (6-foot-6) makes him a mismatch against cornerbacks, and linebackers might find it hard to keep up with him because of his 40-yard clock time of 4.44 seconds.
He also has a 33.5-inch arm length, allowing Ryan to throw balls at an angle or height that only Pitts can reach.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) September 1, 2021
Pitts’ 33.5-inch vertical jump will come in handy during fade routes or if there’s a need to leap over multiple defenders.
Oh, he has also got 10-inch hands which makes it easier to hold onto the ball.
Fitting Into The Falcons Offense
Pitts is lucky that Arthur Smith has experience in making dual tight end sets work.
Smith can have more success with Pitts and Hayden Hurst in Atlanta’s pass-first offense.
Beyond that option, it would be difficult for Ryan to miss a target as big as Pitts.
The rookie tight end explodes from the line of scrimmage and creates separation with his long strides.
Pitts has the attributes that can make him one of the best tight ends of all time.
KYLE PITTS HIGHLIGHT REEL CATCH ALERT 🚨
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) August 3, 2021
But that far-fetched claim will only come true once he starts to dominate the NFL.
It’s like the Falcons are keeping him a mystery because he played only a few snaps during the team’s final preseason game.
All he did was one catch for a 27-yard gain.
The Falcons are hoping that he can do more of that and then some during the games that matter.
Yet, there’s still room for improvement in his game.
KYLE PITTS SIGHTING ‼️‼️‼️
— PFF (@PFF) August 30, 2021
He must learn to be a better blocker, be it on the line of scrimmage or as a lead blocker in the open field.
Pitts can also enhance his footwork on short routes and throwing fake moves to leave defenders behind.
It wasn’t long ago when Tony Gonzalez spent the final years of his career in Atlanta.
Pitts can be Gonzalez’s second coming if he meets or exceeds the lofty expectations bestowed upon his shoulders.
More importantly, the Falcons might finally win the Super Bowl that eluded them twice.