The Falcons are at a fairly premium position heading into the 2021 NFL draft. The expectation, for now, is the Jets go quarterback after the Jaguars and new head coach Urban Meyer snag Trevor Lawrence first overall. The Miami Dolphins are a bit of a wildcard. That team just drafted a quarterback and has needs at other positions.
Similar to the Falcons, the Dolphins may be a prime candidate to trade back while other teams are eager to grab whoever falls from the trio of Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance, with some analysts thinking even Mac Jones could be in the mix.
New Falcons general manager has said he plans to go with the best player available in the draft. This is the opposite of former general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who frequently reached to fit needs. This could mean the Falcons are harder to predict in the draft. In the scenario where Fontenot needs to add a significant number of players in the draft because that former general manager left a captastrophe and free agency is going to be limited, the team may be showing interest in every player to drum up trade interest and snag more draft picks.
So take the following rumor with a grain of salt. The rumor is also from Rob Maaddi, an Eagles writer for the Associated Press who is seemingly an unusual source for Falcons rumors. Be that as it may, this could be the most talented player in the draft.
Could this rumor even make sense? Yes! In fact, a very good bit of sense.
The best player available at 4, and perhaps in the entire draft, may be Pitts. Pitts is not just some good tight end who is sneaking into the top few picks of the draft. He’s fast. He’s tall. He has all those fun measurables. However, that is true for a lot of tight ends available in the draft every year.
Different from those other tight ends, Pitts is absolutely something else when he is on the field. He isn’t a mismatch that can take advantage against a linebacker or safety. He takes advantage of both when he is doubled. Pitts will run past, jump over, and use his great hands to beat double coverage to catch in the open field and in the red zone. Some players can do that as well but they are one-dimensional tight ends. Pitts is a willing and competent blocker. His skillset will translate to the pros.
What is more important is how that skillset will translate to the Falcons. Arthur Smith’s offense has a lot of similarities to Kyle Shanahan’s offense. If you remember, Shanahan loved developing different plays based out of the same formation. A run up the middle, toss outside, a target across the middle, or even a deep pass could develop out of the exact same formation at the snap. Defenses would struggle knowing what to expect pre-snap, especially with more versatile players who can block for runs, get in on screens, cross the middle, or beat coverage deep.
Pitts can do all of the above and he can do them better than most in the league. He could add a whole new dimension to Smith’s offense, giving Ryan another Julio-like talent who is versatile and elite, not letting defenses adjust or plan for what is coming at them.
That makes Pitts super interesting. His talent is worth it. His scheme fit is worth it. His value is worth it. If this rumor is true, then the new Falcons regime feels the same too.