6 Atlanta Falcons Players Most Positively Affected By 2023 Free Agency Signings
TE Kyle Pitts
Key Moves that help:
- Getting back healthy after tearing his MCL
- Signing Mack Hollins and Scotty Miller
- Trading for Jonnu Smith
- Starting QB Desmond Ridder instead of former QB Marcus Mariota
Kyle Pitts had a rough season in 2022 gaining just 356 yards on 28 catches on 59 targets after having an exceptional rookie year where he had 68 catches for 1,026 yards on 110 targets. The biggest issue that Pitts was having is that Marcus Mariota couldn't deliver him an accurate ball. On 30 percent of passes headed toward Pitts in 2022, Mariota was off-target and couldn't get him the ball accurately. Switching that up with Desmond Ridder should help him a lot.
As shown earlier with the targets to Drake London, Ridder has a much more accurate ball than what Mariota had. With London continuing to develop, Pitts should have a realistic tag team partner to attack defenses with. The underrated moves of signing wide receivers Mack Hollins and Scotty Miller should also help open up the intermediate areas for Pitts since they are just better receivers than what Bryan Edwards, KhaDarel Hodge, and Olamide Zaccheaus are.
Even more than the space provided by Hollins and Miller, bringing in tight end Jonnu Smith to both mentor Pitts and help the Falcons use Pitts in more of an all-over-the-offense format is a huge move too. Smith is a six-year pro that gives Pitts a mentor when he hasn't had the kind of mentor with a ton of success in head coach Arthur Smith's offense before. Smith will help not just as the in-line guy at times, but also let the Falcons run more 12, 22, or 13-personnel with Pitts aligned outside the hashes, in the slot, or in-line. It will also give the Falcons more variance in the motion concepts they run.
However, the biggest thing that should help Pitts in 2023 is just getting back from injury and having the depth behind him to stay fresh. In 2022, he suffered a torn MCL in his knee that took him out for the year. That kind of injury isn't a fun one to rehabilitate, but it's also something that can cause problems when it comes to cutting in different directions. By having a full offseason to really get healthy and not have to deal with the nagging injuries he had before that, Pitts should be full strength for the start of the 2023 season.