FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Kyle Pitts had an excellent, nearly historic rookie season. Last year’s No. 4 overall pick made an instant (and profound) impact on his Falcons, earning Pro Bowl honors for a campaign where he finished with 68 catches for 1,026 yards. That’s second most by a rookie tight end in NFL history.
It also prompted head coach Arthur Smith to say, despite such massive totals, that Pitts was “just scratching the surface” of his true potential. That’s high praise, though not hyperbolic.
Pitts is that good. And he seems to understand there’s room for far more, carrying a quiet, pressure-free confidence into that effort.
The tight end has elevated goals for this campaign, but he isn’t reading his checklist out loud. At least not in front of a microphone.
“That’s confidential,” Pitts said with a smile.
The Florida product admits they’re written down. Where? He isn’t willing to volunteer.
“I can’t give you all the secrets,” Pitts said. “I do have it somewhere, and I look over it pretty often.”
Those goals, whatever they are, fuel him through the daily grind.
“That’s something that I’m thinking about every practice, every morning when I wake up, in meetings, in camp.” Pitts said. “That’s something I have in the back of my mind every day when I come out here, that I have bigger goals to achieve.”
They’ll be easier this time around, in part because the game isn’t played in fast forward. That’s how it feels for rookies early on, even highly touted ones. The action seems faster with mental processing slowed down by a new scheme.
He has the Falcons system down now, which provides time to looks for ways to exploit defenders.
“It has slowed down. Just a tick. Just a little bit,” Pitts said with a wry smile. “It was slower than it was last year because I’m more confident knowing the game. I’m seeing defenses and I’m trying to break them down. That said, I’m still studying my game to try and play faster.”