Falcons Building Blocks: Kyle Pitts a safe bet despite rookie status

No. 4 overall NFL Draft pick has size, skill, drive to be a top-tier NFL tight end

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Editor's note: Our weeklong Falcons Building Blocks series started Tuesday and focuses on five young talents who will be counted on to start a new era of sustained success. These players must hit certain marks to be included. They must be working on a rookie contract. They must be 27 or younger. They must be thriving already, with leadership qualities and potential for even better down the line. While rookies aren't preferred considering they've never played an NFL snap at this point, you'll find one on the list due to vast potential involved. We're at that point now. The latest installment focuses on tight end Kyle Pitts.

Kyle Pitts has not yet played an NFL snap. He has 0 catches for 0 yards and 0 touchdowns at this time. There's an argument to be made that the Florida product can't be considered a building block until he does something, anything at the professional level.

I'm sure someone will make it the second this story hits social media. I'm sure it'll involve a derogatory reference aimed at me. No matter. I'm ready to mount my defense.

An NFL sure thing doesn't exist. Even some drafted high who seemed destined for Canton end up among the biggest busts. There's no telling exactly where Pitts' career will go. He'll have to earn everything with talent, smarts and relentless work ethic.

This year's No. 4 overall pick possesses those three traits. There's no debating that, which is why Pitts is a safe bet to produce and be a major contributor should he stay healthy. I'm not walking out on an unstable limb high up a tree saying that. Even those saying we're jumping the gun here can acknowledge Pitts' incredible talent and skill.

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Sure, he's unproven. But it sure seems like he'll prove NFL worthy posthaste, with heavy involvement in this year's Falcons offense. He has the strength and power of an in-line tight end, the speed and agility of a top-tier outside receiver. He's too big for cornerbacks, too fast for linebackers. He'll command significant coverage right away, and if his talent translates well to the NFL as expected, he could be as productive as he was in college. I wanted to use the word "eventually" in the previous sentence, but let's no hedge bets here. Pitts could be excellent right away, especially with head coach Arthur Smith designing the plays. He has a track record of using tight ends well, as focal points of an offense.

Pitts' college production was unreal, especially last year. He had 43 catches for 770 yards – that 17.7-yard average is insane for a tight end – and 12 touchdowns in 2020. And that wasn't over a typical season of 13 games. He did all that in eight.

There's a reason why Pitts was considered the best skill player, the best non-quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft. Signal callers went 1, 2 and then 3, putting the Falcons in position to snatch him at No. 4.

Smith has been hesitant to heap praise on someone who hasn't performed in the pros, a logical tact considering his non-existent NFL stat line. It seems highly likely he'll be able to perform at this level as a hybrid player capable of lining up at several spots across the formation.

He's the type of player you can build around, a young and truly dynamic talent who could be a force to be reckoned with an elite tight end if he lives up to vast potential.

If the Falcons in fact struck gold with the No. 4 overall pick, he could flex real star power while working on a rookie contract that could run through the 2025 season. That could offer great value for possibly elite production, meaning there might be money to pay Calvin Ridley accordingly and have those two as feature players leading a high-powered offense into the future.

Go behind the scenes as Kyle Pitts makes his first visit to Atlanta and meets Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot.

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