Kyle Pitts Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons News

Positive First Impression for Kyle Pitts

If there wasn’t enough pressure on rookie tight end Kyle Pitts already, it just ramped up with Julio Jones being traded to the Tennessee Titans.

The Atlanta Falcons took Pitts out of Florida with the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL Draft, the highest a tight end had ever been selected. Pitts had been described by some draft analysts as the highest graded tight end they’d ever evaluated.

The Falcons also have a new man in the media room as Scott Bair has taken over as Digital Managing Editor in Atlanta, and he wrote of his first impressions of the prized rookie.

“Most everyone believes the No. 4 overall NFL Draft pick will be awesome,” writes Bair. “That take won’t be tested until we see Kyle Pitts play an extended stretch at the professional level, but it’s clear watching him practice that he’s a quality route runner. He glides effortlessly, covering tons of ground with ease while working in the pattern. He’s also tall, long-armed and powerful, looking like someone created an ideal tight end in a lab.”

Bair went on to describe a couple of plays he watched in practice before concluding, “Let’s not make any bold predictions about how Pitts will fare this season after watching a practice in early June. It is, however, crystal clear he has great physical skills and a natural ability to get open. That, my friends, is a good place to start.”

It should have been obvious to us that Julio Jones was on the way out when the Falcons selected Pitts. Despite the national media signaling that this was a “win-now” selection. It clearly wasn’t, not with the 28th ranked running attack and the 32nd ranked defense that was unable to sign a significant name because of salary cap limitations.

Pitts was brought in to be the big receiver to replace Julio Jones. Those are big shoes to fill. Jones is one of the, if not the best, Atlanta Falcons ever. Pitts is the highest tight end ever selected, and I’ve compared him more to the likes of Plaxico Burress than another tight end.

Make no mistake, he’s here to catch the ball.

The good news for Pitts, and why it made little sense that he would be the missing piece on a team that already had Julio Jones, is that he won’t have to be THE guy right away. Calvin Ridley is here for that.

The fourth year receiver already has 3,000 yards in his first three years including a break out 2020 campaign that saw him haul in 90 passes for 1374 yards, while Jones spent much of the season injured.

Pitts doesn’t have to be Jones right away, but make no mistake, he was drafted to supplement the loss of Jones in a Falcons rebuild.

Scott Kennedy
Scott Kennedy is an Atlanta native and 20 year media veteran including time as Director of Scouting at, Managing Editor at 247Sports, VP Content Operations at Sports Illustrated and more. Scott has appeared as a recruiting and NFL Draft analyst on dozens of media including ESPN, NFL Network, USA Today, NY Times, and more.