So, naturally, it was presumed that the Falcons would elect to take Ryan’s successor with a pool of elite rookie quarterbacks to choose from.
Instead, the Falcons went with “generational” tight end Kyle Pitts out of Florida. Did they make the right move?
Longtime NFL Network journalist and radio host, Rich Eisen, of The Rich Eisen Show, believes Atlanta made the wrong choice turning to Pitts.
“They should have chosen a quarterback or they should have traded back,” Eisen said in a recent episode. “They shouldn’t have taken Pitts––that taking Pitts and not taking Mac Jones or Justin Fields or trading back and using all of that to get more draft –––is going to be something that we’ll be talking about for years to come.”
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Eisen Argues That Pitts Hasn’t Done Enough for Atlanta
Before entering the NFL, Pitts finished the 2020 season reeling in 43 catches for 770 yards, and 12 touchdowns through just eight games for the Florida Gators. With stats like that, many analysts and current NFL players thought Pitts would produce high numbers right out of the gate.
Unfortunately for Atlanta, that hasn’t been the case.
“How many touchdowns does Pitts have this year? I think just the one,” Eisen continued to rant. “I mean he’s had games where he’s had over 100 yards receiving. I think he’s gotten in the endzone once against the Jets.”
Eisen’s co-host jumped in to argue that Ryan doesn’t have time to get the ball downfield because the “O-line isn’t great.” However, Eisen doesn’t miss a beat and responds back, “well he should, I mean Pitts can get open.”
In the Falcons’ most recent 25-0 loss to New England, Pitts was held to just 3 catches for 29 yards against the league’s best tight end defense.
“That weapon gets three catches for 29 yards, that’s it. Targeted him once and the ball was kind of thrown behind him in the first drive of the game and then poof, gone.”
Prior to that matchup, the Falcons faced the Dallas Cowboys and lost 43-3. Once again, another touchdown contest for Ryan and company.
“Falcons, seventh seed, woke up Sunday morning in the metroplex playing the Dallas Cowboys feeling good about themselves after beating the Saints in New Orleans, let’s go. We’re the seventh seed, keep winning, we’re going to make the playoffs, we could see what happens and now it’s like five days later–––did they make the organizational mistake of sticking with Matt Ryan or not trading down out of the fourth overall pick, so somebody could go up and get Justin Fields?”
Report: The Falcons Planned on Taking a QB at No. 4
This brings us back to the report from October that the Falcons planned on taking a QB, but they had a specific one in mind.
According to NFL insider Benjamin Albright, the Falcons planned to take a quarterback with the No. 4 pick, however, the one they wanted was drafted at No. 3 overall by the San Francisco 49ers––North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.