And with Julio Jones no longer in Atlanta, Pitts is on tap for a breakout rookie year and ESPN’s Jeff Darlington even sees him winning Offensive Rookie of the Year.
“I’m expecting unequivocally the Offensive Rookie of the Year,” Darlington said on ESPN’s NFL Live. “Put the quarterbacks aside. I get how impactful those quarterbacks can be, but I think Kyle Pitts will be an absolute monster. We have been long searching for the tight end who would have ultimately changed the market. Yes, Travis Kelce is a beast, yes, George Kittle is a beast. Kyle Pitts has the chance, the potential, and the skillset to change the tight end market. And I think this year is the beginning of that.”
Pitts would be the Falcons’ first Offensive Rookie of the Year winner since Matt Ryan won in 2008.
Since then, Atlanta has only ever had three other players chosen as the league’s Rookie of the Year; Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey in 1968, and then Buddy Curry and Al Richardson who were co-Rookie of the Year in 1980.
In terms of NFL Rookie of Year, no tight end has ever won that award, but Pitts could change that.
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George Kittle Believes Pitts Will Have a Breakout Year
Pitts’s draft stock spiked after he finished the 2020 season reeling in 43 catches for 770 yards, and 12 touchdowns in just eight games.
Now, he will transition into the NFL which many tight ends have struggled to do in their first year.
Kittle, a perfect example of a slow transition, explained to Heavy during an exclusive interview why it’s hard for rookies to stand out in year one.
“There’s just so many things going on and it takes them a year for everything to slow down and for them to be able to figure out the playbook, but then focus on all the other skills like, “Hey, I got to work on my first step in the run game. I need to work on this top of the route. I got to catch more jugs balls. And so you figure out after that rookie year, everything slows down,” Kittle said.
Despite the struggles Pitts may face, Kittle is backing Pitts’s potential to have a breakout rookie season.
“I think Pitts is going to have a breakout season regardless, just because he’s in a great system. You’ve got a vet quarterback, you’ve got Calvin Ridley on the outside. Then you’ve got Hayden Hurst––those boys are going to be just fine.”
Pitts Took Notes From “The Best” This Offseason
Pitts attended George Kittle’s Tight End University last week where he was able to gain knowledge and learn from the top tight ends across the league.
Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce was among the 49 tight ends in attendance and he spent some one-on-one time giving Pitts some pointers.
At 6-foot-6 and 250-pounds, Pitts is a massive target and then you throw in his 4.4 40-yard dash, and he is bound to be Atlanta’s top playmaker next to Ridley.
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