The Atlanta Falcons have had some outstanding rookies over the last decade or so as they have placed several players on the All-Rookie team – though AJ Terrell not being among the corners chosen in 2020 is still ridiculous.
Fourth overall selection Kyle Pitts could be the Atlanta Falcons first rookie of the year winner since Matt Ryan in 2008. The Falcons have only ever had four players chosen as the league’s Rookie of the Year – Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey in 1968, Buddy Curry and Al Richardson were co-Rookie of the Year in 1980 and then Matt Ryan in 2008.
Seemingly a lot of things are falling into place for Pitts to have an unprecedented rookie year in 2021. Having an elite play caller like Arthur Smith, a top 10 quarterback in Matt Ryan, and the departure of the team’s leading playmaker all point toward Pitts getting more opportunities in 2021 than he otherwise would have.
Atlanta Falcons will take advantage of Kyle Pitts’ athleticism
Too many Atlanta Falcons seem to be pigeonholing Kyle Pitts as a tight end when in reality he is a playmaker. At 6-foot-6 and 250-pounds he is a big target, but when you add in the fact that he runs a 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, he goes from tight end to playmaker.
He is a bigger, stronger, and nearly as fast a target as Julio Jones. Yes, Pitts is an unproven commodity while we all knew what we were getting with Julio week in and week out.
Being surrounded by guys like Ryan, Calvin Ridley, Mike Davis, Russell Gage, and Hayden Hurst will be a huge advantage for Pitts much like Julio having Roddy White, Michael Turner, and Tony Gonzalez in 2011.
In the history of the NFL Rookie of the Year, no “tight end” has ever won the award. Since the turn of the century, only three receivers have been named as the offensive rookie of the year since 2000 – Anquan Boldin in 2003, Percy Harvin in 2009, and Odell Beckham Jr in 2014.
Pitts and the Atlanta Falcons made NFL history when they took him fourth overall in the 2021 draft, there is no reason given the talent that he has and the veterans around him, that Kyle Pitts cannot be the franchise’s fifth rookie of the year selection.