Falcons Get Kyle Pitts Help in Latest Mock Drafts

Garrett Wilson

Getty This playmaking WR could help Falcons' TE Kyle Pitts.

Kyle Pitts needs help from somebody in the Atlanta Falcons‘ wide receiver room. The tight end set all sorts of records as a rookie, but he appears primed to enter his second season as the only viable target for quarterback Matt Ryan.

NFL defenses will surely focus most of their efforts on doubling Pitts in 2022. It’s something the Falcons can prevent by adding another gifted pass-catcher this offseason.

Fortunately, the 2022 NFL draft class isn’t short of playmakers who could help. One Ohio State wide receiver is a popular pick for Atlanta in two of the latest mock drafts.

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Buckyeyes’ Star a Good Fit Alongside Pitts

Two CBS Sports draft writers have sent Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson to the Falcons with the eighth-overall pick. First, Chris Trapasso made selecting Wilson a remedy for the amount of wideouts the Falcons could lose this offseason: “Is Calvin Ridley going to get traded this offseason? Russell Gage, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Olamide Zaccheaus are all free agents. If the Falcons are going to run it back with Matt Ryan one more season, get him another weapon.”

Next, Josh Edwards named Wilson as the right player to support Pitts: “There is some uncertainty as to what will happen with Calvin Ridley moving forward. If he does not return to the team, then there is urgency to add another player to compliment Kyle Pitts. Pitts, although talented enough to play on the boundary, would benefit from having that as one tool in Atlanta’s bag rather than being the only tool.”

There’s no doubt the Falcons need more options at receiver next season. Calvin Ridley remains a likely candidate for trade, meaning the Falcons may lose the one wideout on the roster defenses fear.

Russell Gage tried to mature into that status late in the 2021 season, but the 26-year-old may have also increased his market ahead of free agency. Plays like this one from Week 15 against the San Francisco 49ers will surely have other teams looking Gage’s way in March:

The Falcons will naturally want to keep Gage, but general manager Terry Fontenot can’t risk being pulled into a bidding war. Not when the Falcons are already projected to be $6,611,883 above the cap, according to OverTheCap.com.

Fontenot has other key free agents to try and re-sign, notably hybrid running back, receiver, Cordarrelle Patterson, along with middle linebacker Foyesade Oluokun. Gage could slip through the cracks, making the draft Atlanta’s best option to secure fresh receiving help.

Wilson’s the Right Kind of Help for Pitts

Not many were convinced the Falcons made the right move by using a top-five draft pick on a tight end a year ago. Pitts proved the doubters wrong and enjoyed a spectacular debut season in the pros, a campaign that saw him amass 68 catches and 1,026 yards.

Those numbers also saw Pitts break a few franchise records. The first fell in Week 7 against the Miami Dolphins:

Pitts was also in record-breaking form against the Buffalo Bills 10 weeks later, when he shattered a team mark set by Julio Jones a decade earlier:

The Falcons’ aerial attack will continue to go through Pitts this year, but the offense still needs another target to avoid becoming predictable. Wilson fits the bill as a dynamic, possession-style receiver at his best when manufacturing yards after catching short throws.

He made 70 catches for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns during his final season with the Buckeyes. Wilson is credited with being able to “consistently create yards out of nothing on underneath throws and on wide receiver screens” by Bleacher Report’s Nate Tice.

There’s further endorsement for Wilson’s skills after the catch by Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network, who calls him “a shifty ball carrier, with the elusiveness and suddenness to make defenders miss in space.”

The Falcons need somebody who can work the short areas on the field and allow Pitts to continue being a vertical target for Ryan, the way he was against the Dolphins, per Next Gen Stats:

Having Pitts challenge coverage on the outside opens space underneath and over the middle, space Wilson could exploit. The latter has the quick moves and precision to routinely beat coverage from the slot on option routes.

Wilson’s route-running skills have been hailed as instructive by PFF Draft’s Trevor Sikkema:

Adding Wilson alongside Pitts would create more versatility in the Falcons’ passing game. It would supply Ryan with a natural check-down option, while also drawing coverage away from Pitts and giving the tight end more one-on-one matchups on the outside.

All of those things have to be worth a top-10 pick.

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