The dust has finally settled from the 2021 NFL Draft, where eight former Florida Gators were elected. The most significant and the highest drafted player of that bunch was the No. 1 player in the 2021 NFL Draft, tight end Kyle Pitts.
Pitts is the greatest tight end prospect I have ever scouted, and I did not think he would fall farther than No. 6 overall to the Miami Dolphins. However, I also wrote that Pitts could go to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 4 overall, but only if the Falcons were smart.
Well, they were smart, and that may be an understatement. Atlanta got the best player in the draft with the fourth overall pick. People thought the Falcons should draft a quarterback, but those same people would give their kidney to see their favorite team’s starting quarterback throw for 4,581 yards and 26 touchdowns, which is what starting quarterback Matt Ryan did in 2020.
Ryan may be getting older, but he can still play at a high level. People forget that Ryan was the MVP of the NFL in 2016. Yes, that was over four years ago, but Ryan isn’t some slouch quarterback that doesn’t have the potential to be great.
It made no sense for the Falcons to waste the last few years they have with their franchise’s greatest quarterback ever, which is why they took Pitts to add to their impressive offense.
Kyle Pitts will win Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2021.
One big reason I think Pitts will win OROY in 2021 is that he is entering the perfect situation. A significant aspect of young pass-catchers entering the NFL is who their quarterback is and what their scheme and surrounding players are like. Atlanta checks off all of the major boxes.
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We already talked about how Ryan still has it, but what else is around Pitts? Future Hall of Fame wide receiver Julio Jones, one of the best breakout receivers in the NFL, Calvin Ridley, one of the better tight ends in the NFL Hayden Hurst, recently signed running back Mike Davis and another solid weapon with wide receiver Russell Gage.
Defenses will not be able to key in on Pitts, and defensive coordinators will need to game plan for all of the other weapons on Atlanta. Pitts should get plenty of one-on-one match-ups all year, which will allow him to thrive in the NFL right away.
Atlanta’s new head coach Arthur Smith ran the most 12 personnel in the 2020 NFL season when he was the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans, according to Sharp Football Stats. So, having an offense with Pitts and Hurst at tight end, with Jones and Ridley at receiver, and Davis at running back will be hard to stop.
If you want to have some fun, look up the best rookie seasons ever by an NFL tight end. Statmuse.com did a great breakdown of it, and outside of former Chicago Bears tight end Mike Ditka in 1961, no rookie tight end has ever had more than 894 yards or ten touchdowns.
I think it is fair to say that Pitts has a chance to have one of the best rookie seasons ever by a tight end in NFL history. I predict Pitts will catch around 60+ passes for over 700 yards and score seven or more touchdowns, locking in his Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2021.