When the Falcons used the fourth overall pick on Kyle Pitts back in 2021, the team still had Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage on the roster. However, Jones was traded to Tennessee last June, Ridley played in just five games last season, and Gage has since signed with Tampa Bay.
Pitts now enters his second NFL season as one of the team’s most accomplished offensive skill players. He may be the only 1,000-yard receiver on the roster but the 21-year-old is still seeking advice from his teammates.
“I’m learning from [Anthony Firkser]. Firk been in this for some years and I’m just always wanting to get better,” Pitts said about Atlanta’s new No. 2 tight end. “So, he’s been in Tennessee playing a different offense and I ask him a question every other play. So, I try and just soak up as much knowledge as I can.”
Firkser spent three seasons in Tennessee with Arthur Smith, and while he wasn’t the No. 1 option, he played a key role on a Titans offense that utilized multiple tight ends.
“That’s something that I want to try and work towards — to being one of the top leaders on the team, and on the offense as well,” Pitts continued. “Like I said, that’s something that this offseason, I want to go into and watch behind Marcus, and Jake, and all the other vet guys and learn how to be a leader.”
The Falcons have more than a handful of new faces this season. Perhaps the biggest change is at the quarterback position where the team is replacing veteran Matt Ryan after 14 years. Pitts knows he will have to work extra hard to develop chemistry with Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder.
“I think with practice, that builds chemistry. So, just going out, routes on there, just throwing with him after practice. things like that, that builds chemistry.”
As a player, individually, the biggest thing Pitts has worked on is understanding the game on a deeper level so he can dissect defenses more efficiently.
“I would say from year one to year two coming in this time, like you said, just mentally trying to get better. And there’s always room for improvement and physically getting stronger, bigger, faster.”