Falcons first-round pick Kyle Pitts to wear No. 8


Kyle Pitts, who led all FBS tight ends with 12 touchdowns despite appearing in only eight games last season, fulfilled his dream of reaching the NFL when the Falcons selected him with the fourth pick in Thursday night’s draft. In doing so, the Philly native became the highest-drafted tight end in league history, bettering the previous mark established by Mike Ditka in 1961 (the Bears drafted him fifth overall that year).

Pitts wore uniform No. 84 during his three years at the University of Florida and was given Roddy White’s blessing to don the same number in Atlanta. What White didn’t realize was that number had already been spoken for, belonging to running back/special teams ace Cordarrelle Patterson, who joined Atlanta as a free agent earlier this month.

Pitts probably could have worked out a trade with Patterson for his preferred number, but instead he’s decided to go with No. 8, taking advantage of a new rule passed at last week’s owners’ meeting, allowing skill position players to wear single-digit uniform numbers. Until recently, NFL tight ends could only wear numbers 80-89 or 40-49.

Pitts could have reverted to his high-school No. 3, though he ultimately settled on 8, which became available when backup quarterback Matt Schaub retired earlier this offseason. The 6’6” Pitts joins a loaded Falcons pass-catching unit featuring Julio Jones (though some suspect he’ll be traded in the coming weeks), Calvin Ridley and fellow tight end Hayden Hurst, who broke out for a career-best 56-571-6 receiving line in 2020.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus, Getty Images