Falcons Select Florida TE Kyle Pitts At No. 4

The first non-quarterback is off the board. As expected, the Falcons have selected talented Florida tight end Kyle Pitts with the fourth-overall pick.

Many pundits had Pitts ranked as their top prospect in the entire draft (or, at least, even with QB Trevor Lawrence), but he wasn’t expected to go in the top-three considering the Jaguars, Jets, and 49ers were all eyeing quarterbacks. Atlanta seemed like a natural landing spot for the tight end, although there were some wondering if the Falcons front office would consider an eventual successor to veteran Matt Ryan. Instead, the team has provided the former MVP with another talented weapon.

The 6-foot-6 tight end put himself on the NFL radar with 54 catches for 649 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore. Then, last year, he took his game to a whole ‘nother level. In 13 games, he reeled in 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns. That was good for a 17.9 yards per catch average — a major leap from his previous 12.0 ypc. Pitts even placed as a finalist for the Fred Biletnikoff award, which goes to the top wide receiver in football.

The Florida product profiles as a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Pitts is too fast for most linebackers and he’ll likely outstretch most cornerbacks on deep routes. His aforementioned 40-yard-dash time only boosted his stock further — most evaluators expected him to land somewhere in the high 4.5 range, which still would have been impressive for a player of his size. Playing alongside Calvin Ridley and (potentially) Julio Jones, Pitts should have plenty of opportunities to showcase those skills. Pitts will form an impressive 1-2 TE combo with Hayden Hurst.

It’s been decades since a TE went in the top five. Kellen Winslow Jr. and Vernon Davis came close, but they were taken No. 6 overall in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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