The Atlanta Falcons have an intriguing tight end situation on their hands with both Hayden Hurst and highly touted rookie Kyle Pitts competing for the starting role.
Atlanta traded a second and a fifth-round draft pick to acquire Hurst last spring and got a pretty good return on their investment in 2020. In nine starts, the University of South Carolina product set career highs by hauling in 56 catches for 571 yards and six touchdowns. His production, however, didn’t stop the Falcons from taking an otherworldly prospect this past draft in Pitts, who won the Mackey Award at Florida last year by hauling in 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns.
ATL head coach Arthur Smith has already indicated that he’ll utilize plenty of two tight end sets like he did as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator, but it’ll be intriguing to see who comes out of camp as the primary option.
Latest camp news
Week 2 preseason recap: Neither Hayden Hurst or Kyle Pitts saw any snaps in Saturday night’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
Week 1 preseason recap: Hayden Hurst did not dress for the first preseason game, and Kyle Pitts watched the game from the sideline in uniform. It would’ve been nice to see Pitts on the field to make his NFL debut, and head coach Arthur Smith said Pitts is right on schedule, so this is probably nothing to worry about.
8/10/21: The Falcons officially released their first preseason depth chart on Tuesday and Hurst is listed ahead of Pitts. Obviously it’s early, so we’ll see if this changes as training camp moves along.
8/9/21: Pitts has unsurprisingly impressed during camp, already being labeled a “human highlight reel” by Falcon beat reporters. On Monday, head coach Arthur Smith went out of his way to work with Pitts on route running and technique.
Next preseason game: vs. Browns
The Falcons must be confident in what they have in their tight end room as Kyle Pitts has not seen the field during the preseason at all. Atlanta has held out quite a few of their top playmakers including Matt Ryan as they get ready for Week 1 of the regular season.
Fantasy football verdict
Heading into Week 3 preseason: Pitts is going to be the man for the Falcons in one of the most anticipated seasons from a rookie tight end as we’ve seen in some time. He is likely going to be worthy of a No. 1 tight end option right out of the gate, while Hurst is only usable with an injury to Hurst.
Heading into Week 2 preseason: Pitts is going to be the top option to pick in fantasy drafts between the two after watching him dominate in college with the Florida Gators, and he’s been hyped up to be incredible as a pro. Hurst is not draftable at this point, but he has proven to be a productive tight end option for fantasy owners with his best season in 2020.