After a fair few months of heated speculation and online battles, the Atlanta Falcons have made their choice in the 2021 NFL Draft. In line with many of the rumours at the start of the month, the Falcons have selected TE Kyle Pitts, from Florida State.
The decision to take Pitts has been on the cards for a good few weeks, with his pro day coinciding with a significant uptick in his stock. With Miami opting to move down from 3, and San Francisco opting to select their QB of the future, the draft really did start with Atlanta. In Kyle Pitts, they’ve taken the first non-quarterback of the 2021 draft, and the highest-drafted tight end in the Super Bowl era.
It’s easy to imagine how Pitts will fit into this offense. At 6 foot 6, and 239lbs, Pitts will offer another dominating weapon for Matt Ryan to target. With the Gators, Pitts lined up over the middle, as well as on the outside. Combine that with his impressive speed (Pitts ran a 4.44 40 at his pro day), and Atlanta’s air game has never looked so scary.
Pitts’ college career is something to behold. A muted 2018 as a true freshman exploded into a sophomore season to remember in 2019. 54 receptions, 649 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Pitts found another level in 2020, despite playing 5 fewer games. He ended his final season as a Gator with 770 yards from 43 receptions, and 12 touchdowns. This rise, as well as his age (Pitts will turn 21 in October), has made it easy to project Pitts as an extremely high ceiling sort of player.
Pitts will contribute to the Falcons offense from day one, likely lining up as a backup to Hayden Hurst for the bulk of the season. What the pick does for Hurst’s long-term future in Atlanta remains to be seen. That said, it’s difficult to imagine his stay will be extended beyond the length of his current contract.
For now, Falcons fans can get excited at what sort of situations Arthur Smith and his team can devise for an offense boasting no less than 4 first-round receiving options. The Falcons have 8 picks remaining, across 6 rounds. We’ll be on hand to deliver all the information you need on those picks as they happen across the weekend, so stay tuned!