Kyle Pitts

NFL Teams Expect Falcons To Draft Kyle Pitts?

There’s no shortage of suitors for the Falcons’ No. 4 overall pick, but it’s not a given that they’ll trade down. There’s also the possibility that they’ll stay put and draft a quarterback. Meanwhile, a number of league sources tell Peter King of NBC Sports that they expect the Falcons to stand pat and select Florida tight end Kyle Pitts.

[RELATED: Cowboys Infatuated With Pitts?]

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the Falcons connected to the dynamic athlete. Pitts personally believes that the Falcons are high on him and new head coach Arthur Smith would reportedly prefer to take a non-quarterback while banking on the continued health of Matt Ryan. For all intents and purposes, the Falcons know that Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson won’t be available at No. 4, which leaves two of the three remaining QBs (Mac Jones, Trey Lance, and Justin Fields) on the table for them. That’s not a bad group to choose from, but they may prefer Pitts’ combination of wide receiver skills coupled with an offensive lineman’s wingspan.

There’s little doubt that the Falcons are high on Pitts, because just about every team is drooling over his potential. That includes teams like the Cowboys, who are well out of rangeJerry Jones has more pressing needs to fill than the tight end position, but some believe it’s possible that he could move up the board for him anyway.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys’ Jerry Jones “Infatuated” With Kyle Pitts

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is “infatuated” with tight end Kyle Pitts, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (via 24/7 Sports). Pitts probably won’t be available at No. 10, so Jones would have to move up the board to get his man.

The Cowboys have several key needs to address in the draft including cornerback, offensive tackle, and safety. The tight end position isn’t among the most glaring holes, but Pitts’ off-the-charts athleticism and pass-catching ability has caught Jones’ attention in a serious way.

To snag him, Jones may have to move up as high as No. 4 overall, after the Jaguars, Jets, and 49ers take their quarterbacks. The Falcons could be willing to move that pick, but they’ll need to be blown away by an offer — especially since new GM Terry Fontenot wants a quarterback while new head coach Arthur Smith wants to stick with Matt Ryan. Also, the Falcons are pretty fond of Pitts themselves.

Right now, it seems unlikely that Pitts will get past the No. 6 overall pick. To get there, the Cowboys would probably have to sacrifice their 2022 first-round pick.

Pitts, a quarterback in high school, moved to tight end at UF and quickly put himself on the NFL radar. Last year, he snagged 43 catches for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in just eight games, finishing out with an eye-popping 17.9 yards per grab.

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Florida TE Kyle Pitts

Kyle Pitts began his high school career as a quarterback. At his Pro Day last week, he measured in with the wingspan of an offensive lineman and ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash like a wide receiver. Needless to say, the 6’6″ tight end is going to hear his name called early in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

[RELATED: Falcons Eyeing Pitts At No. 4?]

Pitts 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 will only boost 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.

On the flipside, there are questions about Pitts’ blocking ability, but he could improve in both of those areas over time. At 245 pounds, there’s ample room for Pitts to bulk up, and his 83-inch wingspan provides a solid base for pass and lead blocking.

In terms of pure talent, NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah ranks Pitts as the second-best prospect in this year’s class, behind only Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. LSU’s JaMarr Chase — who captured the Biletikoff trophy as a sophomore in 2019 — sits behind him at No. 3. So, where will Pitts land? The Florida product says that the Falcons have been showing interest in him and they’d be well within range with the No. 4 overall choice.

They were saying that they have interest in me,” Pitts said. “After today, we’ll get on another Zoom and they’ll try to learn more about myself. I feel like they are pretty interested.”

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. A few weeks ago, the Falcons were expected to target a quarterback. Now, in the wake of the 49ers’ move up to No. 3, they may have to go in another direction. Pitts could very well be the pick, forming an impressive 1-2 TE combo with Hayden Hurst.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Interested In TE Kyle Pitts At No. 4?

The Falcons have spoken with Kyle Pitts on multiple occasions this offseason, conducting two Zoom meetings with this draft’s top tight end prospect, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Another Falcons Zoom meeting is scheduled as well, Pitts said.

Holding the No. 4 overall pick, the Falcons had key staffers on hand at Pitts’ pro day Wednesday. New HC Arthur Smith attended the ex-Florida Gator weapon’s showcase, and Pitts spoke with Falcons brass at the event.

They were saying that they have interest in me,” Pitts said, via Ledbetter. “After today, we’ll get on another Zoom and they’ll try to learn more about myself. I feel like they are pretty interested.”

The 6-foot-6, 245-pound pass catcher blazed to an unofficial 4.44-second 40-yard dash time Wednesday. While this draft has standout wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes multiple evaluators informed him Wednesday the Florida prospect is the best player available this year (Twitter link). Pitts also boasts the longest wingspan measurement of any wideout or tight end in 20 years. ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Pitts as his No. 2 prospect, behind Trevor Lawrence.

No tight end has been drafted in the top five this century. Only two — Mike Ditka and Riley Odoms, the latter being picked fifth in 1971 — ever have (though, Kellen Winslow Jr. and Vernon Davis came off the 2004 and 2006 boards at No. 6 overall). Pitts broke through in 2020, catching 12 touchdown passes in the COVID-19-shortened college football season and averaging 17.9 yards per catch.

The Falcons have been linked to a possible Matt Ryan heir apparent at No. 4, but with the 49ers trading up for a quarterback, Atlanta is in position to choose this draft’s best non-QB prospect. Prior to Smith’s 2019 promotion to Titans OC, he was a tight ends coach for four seasons. The Falcons have Hayden Hurst signed through 2021, but Pitts would offer a different level of athleticism that might be too enticing to bypass.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Florida TE Kyle Pitts Declares For Draft

Florida tight end Kyle Pitts has declared for the 2021 NFL draft, thereby foregoing his final season of collegiate eligibility, as ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter). To guard against the possibility of injury, Pitts will not play in the Gators’ bowl game.

The 6-6, 240-pound talent is considered one of the best tight end prospects in recent memory, and as such, he is expected to come off the board in the first round. The Patriots and Cardinals profile as possible landing spots, and despite the presence of Mark Andrews, the TE-reliant Ravens could also give Pitts some serious thought.

Pitts ends his college career on a high note — at least from a personal standpoint — as he secured seven catches for 129 yards and a TD in Florida’s loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. In eight games this season, he compiled 43 catches for 770 yards and twelve scores. He is a semifinalist for this year’s John Mackey Award.

At the next level, Pitts will need to refine his route-running and blocking, but that’s largely true of any college tight end. He has experience lining up in-line and outside the numbers, and his outstanding body control and athleticism will serve him well in the pros.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.