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Who won Falcons tight end battle between Kyle Pitts and Hayden Hurst

The Falcons have two talented tight ends, but the rookie seems to be the starter.

Atlanta Falcons v Miami Dolphins
Kyle Pitts of the Atlanta Falcons looks on prior to the preseason game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on August 21, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons took Kyle Pitts with the No. 4 pick in the 2021 NFL draft, making him the highest-ever selection for the position in league history. Atlanta already had Hayden Hurst on the roster, but didn’t want to pass up the chance at a generational talent in Pitts. The duo will likely see time on the field together, but who is the starter at the position?


Teams don’t take players in the top five picks to keep them on the bench, especially at skill positions. The Falcons may have played with Pitts’ psychology by putting him second on the team’s depth chart, but they weren’t fooling anyone.

Scott Bair of notes Pitts showing off his skills during the offseason and first-year coach Arthur Smith getting exactly what he wanted done by putting the tight end in for a second against the Cleveland Browns. The rookie out of Florida is the starter here, even if the team’s depth chart has Hurst as the top tight end.

Fantasy football implications

Matt Ryan has another weapon in what is expected to be a pass-heavy offense. The Falcons remain poor defensively, making them more likely to play from behind for a majority of the season. Throw in Pitts’ obvious physical traits and you have the makings of a great fantasy asset, especially at a position of scarcity.

That being said, be careful about taking Pitts too high. He’s still a rookie and not quite at the level of the top tight ends Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Darren Waller. There’s also the chance Smith might bring him along slowly early in regular season. Pitts is better than most of the tight ends in the league in fantasy terms but be wary of the price point.