Should the Atlanta Falcons be concerned about Kyle Pitts?
By Nick Halden
Despite the addition of Bijan Robinson and the Atlanta Falcons clearly focusing on running the football fans should expect a huge jump in production from Kyle Pitts. One season of frustration from the second-year tight end has many questioning a player that clearly is going to be a star for a long time in this league.
Pitts' rookie season saw the tight end finish the year with 1,026 receiving yards despite spending the bulk of the year as the only threat in the passing game as a rookie. Matt Ryan often simply threw the ball up into coverage for Pitts to make a play due to the lack of options. In an offense with reliable second and third options it is easy to make the case Pitts could have had well over 1,500 receiving yards in his rookie year.
This leads us to Kyle's second season in the league where many are confusing a fantasy football bust as an actual bust. Yes, Kyle's second-season numbers were ugly, however, let's look at the reasoning and consider that Pitts was playing with an incapable passer in Marcus Mariota.
Playing in only ten games Kyle finished the year with 356 receiving yards and wasn't close to the player he had been in his rookie season. What is missed in simply looking at the numbers or considering the fantasy football implications is what Kyle did well.
Arthur Smith put Kyle out as a blocker often and Pitts clearly did well in the role though obviously this isn't ideal for your best weapon. Pitts showed improvement as a run blocker and consistently was open during the 2022 season. The issues with production are not on Kyle but on Marcus Mariota's inability as a passer and Arthur Smith putting Kyle out as a blocker or decoy due to these issues.
In the third year of his rookie contract, Atlanta should expect a huge jump from Pitts with Desmond Ridder now the starting quarterback. Even if Ridder isn't the long-term answer the second-year player is clearly a superior passer and capable of consistently getting the ball to Kyle.
Expectations should be for 1,200 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns with Kyle sharing targets with Drake London and Arthur Smith's offense often putting the ball in the hands of either Bijan Robinson or Tyler Allgeier. Now isn't the time to overreact to one bad season from a player that clearly wasn't put in a good situation in the 2022 season.