The Complexity of Kyle Pitts and the Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons have trapped themselves in a weird spot with former fourth-overall pick Kyle Pitts

Indianapolis Colts v Atlanta Falcons
Indianapolis Colts v Atlanta Falcons / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

As the Atlanta Falcons prepare to end another disappointing season, they’ll go into the off-season with numerous questions about their head coach, the quarterback position, and how they’ll approach the draft. One thing they wouldn’t have expected two years ago is questions about Kyle Pitts and how he fits within their offense moving forward.

The 2021 NFL Draft featured numerous superstars in the first round, and after his rookie season, it looked like Pitts belonged in that same group. He set numerous team records and was only the second rookie tight end to record over 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. It looked like Pitts would become one of the best tight ends in the league and be on a path toward superstardom.

Unfortunately for the Falcons and Pitts, his second year was a complete disappointment. He struggled to connect with Marcus Mariota and only recorded 28 catches before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Most Falcons’ fans hoped this would be a one-year outlier in the forecast for Pitts’ career and that he’d bounce back with more consistency at the quarterback position and a healthier season this year.

Year three has left the Falcons with even more questions about Pitts’ future due to their coaching and quarterback situation. Arthur Smith struggles to get Pitts consistently involved within the Atlanta offense and he has 11 games with 3 or fewer catches this season. If the team does move forward with a new coach this off-season, they’ll have to ensure it’s someone who knows how to utilize all of Pitts’ talents.

The other side of the conundrum is the lackluster quarterback play for the Falcons throughout this season. Desmond Ridder looked lost as a starter and some of Pitts’ lackluster production should be attributed to that.

Will getting a new quarterback in the building erase all the concerns about Pitts or will the Falcons look back and realize they should have picked someone else at the top of the draft? It’s hard to know based on how they’ve built their team since then, but numerous players have made much larger impacts on their respective teams.

Although their talents may be wasted based on the Falcons’ current quarterback situation, it seems highly unlikely that anyone would pick Pitts over Ja’Marr Chase or Jaylen Waddle at this point in their respective careers.

The team has been linked to Justin Fields throughout the year as a potential trade target, but they had the chance to draft him in 2021 and could have likely traded down and accumulated more picks in the meantime.

If Fields does end up arriving in Atlanta, the organization and fans will be hoping he can help rekindle the hype and production for Pitts. The team only has until May 2nd to decide on his fifth-year contract option and it’ll be a huge decision not only from the team building aspect but also in regards to salary numbers.


The best path forward for the team seems to be bringing in a new offensive-minded coach, and a new quarterback, and then seeing how Pitts (and Drake London) perform. If he’s able to bounce back and produce similar numbers to his rookie year, the long-term outlook of this Atlanta team could change significantly.

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