When the Atlanta Falcons drafted Kyle Pitts fourth overall last year, it was the first time in NFL history that a tight end was selected in the top five.
Taking Pitts required the Falcons to pass on guys like Ja’Marr Chase, Micah Parsons and Penei Sewell, but that’s how rare the former Florida star’s skills were out of college. It didn’t take long for Pitts to prove himself worthy of the hype, finishing with over 1,000 receiving yards in his rookie year.
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So far in 2022, Pitts doesn’t have enough of the ball to be the kind of difference maker we know he can be. It could be down to a hamstring injury that kept him out of the Falcons’ Week 5 game against the Buccaneers. Or it could be due to the lack of quality goals Pitts has received this season.
CBS Sports’ Jacob Gibbs shared an interesting stat about which players received the most off-target shots. As you can see below, two Falcons – Kyle Pitts and Drake London – have been listed.
Highest “off-target” rates:
32% – Kyle Pitts
29% – Darnell Mooney
23% – Jahan Dotson
22% – DJ Moore, Nico Collins
21% – Drake London, Elijah Moore
19% – Davante Adams (that explains a lot 😡)
18% – Rashod Bateman, Dalton Schultz
17% – Jerry Jeudy, Darren Waller, Marquise Brown
—Jacob Gibbs (@jagibbs_23) October 12, 2022
Pitts leads the NFL in off-target success rate (32%), while London has the fifth-highest rate at 21%. Although both have an elite capture radius, their size can’t make up for everything.
Fans have been upset with the lack of receptions and goals Pitts has received this season, but the fact that almost a third of the passes aimed at him went untargeted is one of the main reasons for its disappointing production.
Many fans have questioned Arthur Smith’s ability to set up Pitts’ opener, but perhaps that’s a problem that has more to do with the quarterback than anything else.
Pitts is expected to return in Week 6 when the Falcons host former division rivals the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.