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What You Need to Know:
-At 6’6, 245 pounds, Pitts dominated at Florida over the past 2 seasons (97-1,419-17).
-He posted 43-770-12 as a 20-year-old junior. He played only 8 games, missing 4 due to an undisclosed injury and 1 with a concussion. He’s 100% entering the summer.
-In 2020, he ran 52% of his routes either out of the slot or out wide.
-Pitts won’t play the majority of his snaps in-line as a pro. But he was at least adequate as a blocker in the SEC.
-Pitts’ TE coach at Florida — former pro Tim Brewster — called the youngster a “generational talent.” His body control, footwork and length all figure to translate right away.
-The Falcons opted against trading down in April’s draft, instead choosing to select Pitts 4th overall.
-He joins a TE corps that includes Hayden Hurst, who tallied 88-56-571-6 in his 1st year with Atlanta. He simply can’t match Pitts’ playmaking ability, though. He’ll take a back seat to the rookie.
-Last year, Atlanta ranked #1 league-wide in pass rate and raw pass attempts. Look for some regression there under 1st-year HC Arthur Smith, Tennessee’s former OC/TE coach. Still, a bad defense should have this unit clearly leaning pass.
-Smith has a background as a TE coach: Smith helped develop Jonnu Smith in Tennessee. As Titans OC last year, TEs combined for a massive 29.4% target share.
-Julio Jones will take a huge target share out the door. Jones played only 9 games last year but was on pace for 121 targets.
-Rookie TEs have historically struggled to produce. Since 2010, only 9 TEs have reached 500 yards. Only 2 have topped 50 catches. If there’s an argument for Pitts, though, it’s that he’s much more of a WR than a TE.
Draft Sharks Bottom Line:
Pitts has the elite physical traits and athleticism to forecast both an excellent long-term career — and a strong year 1. New HC Arthur Smith is an up-and-coming play-caller, while Atlanta should continue to lean pass given an iffy backfield and defense.
Mix in the Julio Jones trade, and Pitts could perform as a top-5 fantasy TEs this fall. He’s simply being drafted near his ceiling, with an early-summer FFPC ADP of TE4.