2021 NFL Draft: Why Kyle Pitts could be Falcons' first-round pick


Editor's note: This is the fourth of 10 prospect profiles on players who could be the Falcons' first-round pick.

The Atlanta Falcons enter the draft with one of, if not the most, interesting pick. Not only is this draft unique because it's coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot's first one together, the team also has the No. 4 overall pick.

It's not often the Falcons have a pick this high and the hope is that it doesn't happen again anytime soon. The last time Atlanta had a draft pick within the top five was in 2008 when they selected Matt Ryan with the No. 3 overall pick.

Based off what we know about what the Jaguars, Jets and 49ers needs are, it's become almost a sure bet the first three picks will be quarterbacks. If that happens and the Falcons decide to stay put and not take a quarterback, they'll have the chance to draft the best non-quarterback prospect in the draft.

Many draft pundits believe the best player in the draft who doesn't play the quarterback position is tight end Kyle Pitts. Not only is Pitts perceived as a generational talent, with the increase in points per game in the NFL the need for offensive weapons is greater than ever.

Pitts caught 100 passes for 1,492 yards and 18 touchdowns in his three-year career at Florida. With his rare blend of speed, size and athleticism, Pitts became a star in his junior season and won the John Mackey award as the best tight end in college football.

Why he fits with the Falcons

While tight end isn't necessarily a positional need for the Falcons, the opportunity to add a player of Pitts' caliber is one that would be hard to pass up. Adding Pitts to an offense that already has Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst and Russell Gage as pass-catching weapons would make Atlanta's offense one of the best in the NFL.

Pitts' 6-foot-6, 245-pound frame would give Matt Ryan more opportunities to throw the ball up in the red zone and over the middle of the field. His speed makes him a difficult matchup for linebackers and he's a bigger than most cornerbacks he goes up against.

Smith showed when he was the offensive coordinator of the Titans from 2019-20, he can find ways to create space for his players to maximize their one-on-one opportunities. In addition to the players he already has on his roster, having Pitts would allow Atlanta's new head coach even more to work with as he puts his game plan together every week.

Expert analysis:

"While the player comparison for the purposes of this scouting report is Darren Waller, Pitts may have the traits and talent to create mismatches similar to those created by Calvin Johnson and Tyreek Hill. His rare blend of size, athleticism and ball skills are reminiscent of Megatron's. His ability as a pass-catching tight end could force defenses in his division to alter the way they construct their roster. He's a tough matchup for most linebackers and too big for most cornerbacks. He offers offensive coordinators the ability to align him all over the field and, like Waller, can become a highly targeted, highly productive pass catcher from the tight end position. He puts in effort as a blocker but with limited success. That's not what makes him special, though. Along with Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, Pitts has a chance to become the biggest game-changer in the 2021 NFL Draft." – Lance Zeirlein, NFL.com

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