It often takes tight ends a little while to adjust to the pros, given the nuances of the position.
But after Kyle Pitts‘ last two games, it seems like this year’s No. 4 overall pick is finished with that process.
Pitts was a key factor in Atlanta’s victory over Miami, catching seven of his eight targets for 163 yards. It’s the second game in a row he’s gone over 100 while only missing one target, as he reeled in nine passes for 119 yards and a touchdown in the Falcons’ Week Five win over the Jets.
When the Falcons needed a late score, quarterback Matt Ryan turned to Pitts. He caught a 23-yard pass to start Atlanta’s game-winning drive. And then caught a 28-yard pass to put the club in field goal position.
After the game, Pitts said he was “surprised and excited” to get man coverage in those situations.
His head coach said Pitts’ performance on Sunday is why Atlanta took him with the fourth pick.
“There’s no secrets there,” Arthur Smith said after Sunday’s game. “He’s a good player. It’s the mindset. We don’t get caught up in the day-to-day roller coaster narratives. It’s the big picture. All he’s done every week is he’s gotten better, and he works.”
Pitts is currently on pace for 1,335 yards as a rookie, which would be a record for a first-year tight end.
“He just turned 21. That’s huge because, when you put a fourth pick on somebody, there’s a lot of expectations, and I’ve seen some guys not be able to handle it, but fortunately Kyle has,” Smith said. “He’s exactly who we thought he was.”
The Falcons have a divisional matchup against the Panthers in Week Eight, so Carolina will have a significant challenge to try and hold Pitts in check.