With the No. 4 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Falcons select Florida tight end Kyle Pitts….
Kyle Pitts Career Statistics
Pitts was selected as early as anyone at the position has ever had entering the league. That is the background he has entering the NFL as a pass catcher while he will not even turn 21 years old until October of his rookie season. At his Pro Day, Pitts came out as glowing as his production resume, registering in the 95th percentile athletically at his position.
Among all tight end prospects since 2000, Pitts ranks first in touchdowns per game (1.5), second in receiving yards per game (96.3), and 15th in receptions per game (5.4) in their final college season. His 17.9 yards per catch is the highest among all of those prospects who caught 40 or more passes and his 27.9% touchdown rate on those grabs is second among the same group. In my personal prospect model which goes back to 2000, Pitts enters the NFL with the highest production score in a final collegiate season since, bypassing Rob Gronkowski.
In his eight games played this past season, Pitts accounted for 20.2% of the Florida receptions, 25.7% of their receiving yardage, and 37.5% of their touchdown receptions while averaging 2.51 yards per team pass attempt. His final game played came against Alabama, in which he caught seven passes for 129 yards and a touchdown.
Just one first-round tight end has cleared 200 PPR points in his rookie season and that was Keith Jackson back in 1988. Just five have cleared 150 PPR points in their first season, with the latest being Evan Engram in 2017. Vernon Davis (6.3 rookie year points per game) and Kellen Winslow (5.0 in just two games) were both taken sixth overall in their respective drafts while T.J. Hockenson (6.7 points per game) was just selected eighth overall two years ago and was paired with a strong quarterback out of the box, unlike Davis and Winslow.
Just four rookie tight ends have ever cleared 800 yards receiving regardless of the round they were drafted, but with a 17th game added in 2021, Pitts has some extra runway compared to his previous counterparts.
The tight ends in Atlanta were a struggle last season as the team ranked 27th in success rate (50%) and 25th in yards per target (6.4) targeting the position. Under Arthur Smith last season, the Titans used 12 personnel 35% of the time in 2020, which led the league.
With high-end playmakers such as Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley on the perimeter, Pitts should have his way to not only opportunity, but comfortable surroundings. Matt Ryan has thrown for at least 4,000 yards in 10 straight seasons and has completed over 400 passes in each of the past three seasons. He has led the league in completions in each of the past two seasons. Put in a more friendly offensive climate under Smith that will put more of an emphasis on play action in 2021, Pitts could not have landed in a better immediate spot.
Already being selected as the TE6 off the boards over the past week in FFPC formats, there will surely be a tax to pay on Pitts, but he does immediately offer TE1 upside at the league’s thinnest fantasy position.
Early 2021 Kyle Pitts Projection: 109 targets, 73 receptions, 885 yards, 7 TD