Kyle Pitts could be the next Tony Gonzalez for the Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (8). Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (8). Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Kyle Pitts is a remarkable tight end prospect and the closest player who could help the Atlanta Falcons replace the great Tony Gonzalez. 

Let me start by saying that the NFL will never again see a player quite like Tony Gonzalez. The former Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons star is widely regarded as the greatest player to ever man the tight end position and his remarkable NFL legacy stretches across 17 glorious seasons.

With 1,325 receptions and 15,127 receiving yards, Gonzalez is first among NFL tight ends in these categories by a wide margin and is second to only Antonio Gates all-time in receiving touchdowns (111), according to Pro Football Reference. Though Gonzalez never had a 1,000-yard season during the final five years of his career in Atlanta, the prolific tight end still managed four years of over 850 receiving yards with at least 6 touchdowns.

Since his retirement back in 2013, the Falcons managed to hold down the fort with some quality stop-gap players like Austin Hooper and Hayden Hurst. Now they may have found the closest thing to Tony Gonzalez in rookie tight end, Kyle Pitts.

Kyle Pitts is exactly what the Atlanta Falcons need

I know this comparison is unfair. Tony Gonzalez was one of the greatest players in the history of the NFL, and nobody is going to be breaking his records anytime soon. However, Kyle Pitts might be the closest thing Atlanta could get to having another Tony Gonzalez.

For my money, Pitts is the best tight end prospect I’ve graded since I started analyzing draft prospects back in 2014, and he blows the competition out of the water. Though players like T.J. Hockenson and O.J. Howard was considered legitimate first-round prospects, I had an elite draft grade on Pitts and he was my number three overall player in the 2021 NFL Draft.

At 6’5 5/8” and 245 pounds, Pitts is remarkably similar to Gonzalez from a size standpoint (who was 6’5” and 247 pounds), and he might be as close as you can get, athletically. According to his Relative Athletic Score, Kyle Pitts tested as a 96th percentile athlete – earning impressive numbers in the 40-yards dash (4.44), broad jump (10’9”), and 10-yard split (1.55).

In addition, Pitts was incredibly productive at Florida over his past two collegiate seasons, as he recorded 1,419 yards and 18 touchdowns over his last 21 games, according to Sports Reference. What’s most impressive is that he did all of this as one of the youngest tight ends in college football, and Pitts doesn’t even turn 21 years old until October.

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Tony Gonzalez was likely the best tight end the NFL has ever seen, and I wouldn’t compare anyone to him lightly. However, as a prospect, Kyle Pitts is as good as they come and he could give the Atlanta Falcons exactly what they need on offense. If he turns out to be the player I think he will, Pitts could be one of the most valuable non-quarterback players in all of football.