Rookie Kyle Pitts from the University of Florida will have a lot to prove going into the 2021 season for the Atlanta Falcons.
Pitts has the highest rating of any rookie in Madden 22 with 81, adding to an already high amount of expectations for the tight end. This is a guy that had teams salivating at the chance to draft a player of his size and skillset, and the Falcons were bad enough in 2020 to be able to draft him. With his high draft status, comes sky-high expectations.
The team drafted him with the 4th pick overall with the idea of him being the star pass catcher on the team. Drafting Pitts will prove to be a smart decision, especially since the team traded Julio Jones, the man who many believed would be a life-long Falcon. Pitts will fill the gap left by Jones nicely, utilizing both his size and athleticism.
These aren’t his only skills however.
Pitts will utilize his route running ability to torch defenders to dominate opposing defenders.
Pitts was an excellent route runner at Florida, especially for a tight end of his size. He showed explosiveness off the snap, and has some of the strongest hands in football. So far through training camp, he has shown these skills, and then some. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts to the NFL speed, but if he can keep his explosiveness and speed, that won’t be a problem for him.
He will have a difficult task stepping into the shoes of Jones, but with his track record of success, he shouldn’t have any problems. At Florida, his numbers improved all three years. His freshman season, he caught three passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. His sophomore season, his numbers increased greatly, with Pitts catching 54 passes for 649 yards and five touchdowns. Last season, Pitts caught 43 passes for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Pitts only played in played in eight games last season due to a shortened schedule because of COVID-19, as well as an injury. In a normal length season without injury, Pitts goes over 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns easily. He’s his most dangerous in the red zone, and this is an area the Atlanta Falcons have been dreadful in for the last two seasons.
Pitts and Calvin Ridley will both be expected to step up.
With Ridley now being the number one option, this should open up opportunities for Pitts to go down the field for deep balls and slants. These two players will be a dynamic duo for years to come for Matt Ryan, and Pitts especially should be among the leagues’ top tight ends.
Pitts will be used frequently, so it's not a stretch to say he catches 100 or more passes this upcoming season. It's also not a stretch to say he will reach the 1,000 yard receiving mark, with over 10 touchdowns.
Pitts will win offensive rookie of the year.
With these numbers, Pitts will win offensive rookie of the year, and the Atlanta Falcons offense will fly high in 2021. Jones is an Atlanta Falcons legend, but Pitts will be a great replacement and will make a name for himself in Atlanta. Pitts won't be the next Jones, he will be the first Pitts.
He will prove that he is worthy of the hype and he will help Matt Ryan transition into life without Jones. It will be exciting to see how Arthur Smith utilizes Pitts in his offense, and it will be interesting to see how the connection between Ryan and Pitts grows as the season goes on.
Maybe one day, Pitts will reach the coveted 99 rank in a Madden game.
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