When the Falcons used the fourth overall pick on Kyle Pitts 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 signed with Tampa Bay since then.
Pitts now enters his second NFL season as one of the most accomplished offensive skill players on the team. He may be the only 1,000-yard receiver on the list, but the 21-year-old still seeks advice from his teammates.
“I'm learning from [Anthony Firkser]. Firk has been at it for a few years and I always want to get better,” Pitts said of Atlanta's new No. 2 tight end. “So, he's been in Tennessee playing a different offense and I ask him a question every two plays. So, I try to absorb 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 in a Titans offense that utilized multiple tight ends.
"That's something I want to try and work on: being one of the main leaders on the team and on offense as well," Pitts continued. "As I said, that's something this offseason I want to get into and look behind Marcus, Jake, and all the other veterans 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 quarterback where the team is replacing veteran Matt Ryan after 14 years. Pitts knows that he will have to work harder 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 like you said, I'm just mentally trying to get better. And there is always room to improve and become physically stronger, bigger, faster.”