New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has spoken very highly of Falcons rookie tight end Kyle Pitts ahead of a Week 11 game on “Thursday Night Football” in Atlanta.
Belichick previously referred to Pitts as “one of the superstars of the NFL” despite the fact he’s played just 10 weeks in the league. And the longtime head coach, who so rarely compares one player to another — especially those in the past — agreed with the comments that Pitts was a cross between Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez and All-Pro wide out Julio Jones.
That’s extremely high praise from anyone, and yes, even from Belichick who almost always makes sure he talks highly of upcoming opponents. The Patriots head coach expanded on those previous comments Wednesday, though, expressing what has really stood out to him.
“I would say Pitts has impressed me with his ability to play as a perimeter receiver, as a true perimeter receiver a high percentage of the time,” Belichick said Wednesday before the Week 11 game. “It?s not like he’s just out there once or twice a game. He’s out there a lot.
“Now, from game to game, it could be different, but you’ve got to be able to handle him out there and then you’ve got to be able to handle him inside, too,” Belichick continued. “Again, you don’t see very many receivers come in and actually block and block one of the front seven players. They might come in and block a (defensive back), but they don’t come out and block one of the front seven players. I think that’s one of the things that separates (George) Kittle from a lot of other tight ends you could talk about is his superior blocking ability, but Pitts can come in there and block. I would say, more than (Tony) Gonzalez and more than Kittle or even (Travis) Kelce, he extends out more than they do too. His ability to really be a receiver to a tight end is pretty impressive.”
The 21-year-old Pitts was selected No. 4 overall during the 2021 NFL Draft. He’s recorded 606 yards on 40 catches in nine games this season and has a pair of 100-yard games. He ranks third in receiving yards for tight ends and seventh in receptions.
Patriots-Falcons is set to kick off Thursday at 8:20 p.m. ET.