Arthur Smith Talks Drafting Kyle Pitts Over Matt Ryan’s Successor

Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan

Getty Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons.

When the Atlanta Falcons drafted tight end, Kyle Pitts, in the first round this past April, it raised a lot of eyebrows.

The move was brushed off thinking the Falcons would take a signal-caller in a later round, but they never ended up doing that.

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith was a guest on “The Chris Collinsworth Podcast featuring Richard Sherman” and explained why the Falcons decided to pass on taking Matt Ryan’s successor.

“Everything was on the table,” Smith said. “So, we did our due diligence with all of the quarterbacks and everybody who we thought would be available at No. 4, and it is a big decision. It was a very unusual year and there were a lot of quarterbacks, and who knows how the future plays out for all those guys, but just because you’re picking in the top five doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the right quarterback. … We feel really good about Kyle Pitts and what that does for the future.”

The Falcons went into the draft with a “win now” mindset and drafting a quarterback was not going to live up to that expectation. Now, the pressure is high on the rookie TE, who will be expected to make an impact this season.

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Smith Emphasizes Pitts’s Versatility

Smith also emphasized Pitts’s versatility. He’s not just your average Joe tight end, he can double as a wide receiver if need be.

“Kyle is certainly a unique player,” Smith said. “They (Florida) played him all over the place. I was really impressed watching him, the film, what Dan Mullen did and how they used him at Florida. Because usually, you’re pretty skeptical when you see a tight end graded that high and you’re watching the film and doing your due diligence and you realize he’s a very unique player. He can do more than what a traditional tight end can do. We’ve got high expectations for him and he’s got the right mindset.”

The 6-foot-6, 240 pound has rare speed and finished 2020 making 43 catches for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in just eight games last season.


The NFL’s Top Tight Ends Raved Over Pitts

Pitts will spend this week at Tight End University learning from the league’s best, including Greg Olsen and George Kittle.

Olsen and Kittle recently appeared on the “Pardon My Take” podcast where they had nothing but exceptional high praise for the rookie.

“I’m excited, I’m a Kyle Pitts fan, the dude just scores touchdowns like it’s nothing, it’s crazy. He just always scores two touchdowns a game,” Kittle raved. “I think his athletic ability and his ability on the football field, he’s going to be very talented in Atlanta. I wanted him to go first overall, just to be the first tight end to ever go first. I mean, I get it, but I would have drafted it first.”

That marked the second time Kittle had publically made the comment about Pitts going first overall, he told Heavy the same thing last week.

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