Kyle Pitts joined just 4 other tight ends with rookie feat, and he's not done yet

By , Audacy Sports

If you look back through the history of the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, you'll see a ton of notable names. You'll see quarterbacks such as Ben Roethlisberger, Kyler Murray and Matt Ryan. There are wide receivers, including Odell Beckham Jr. and Randy Moss. The most populous positional group to win the award, running backs, features the names Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Adrian Peterson and Alvin Kamara.

And, of course, we can't forget about the tight ends, of which there are... none. Not a single tight end has won Offensive Rookie of the Year since the award began, back in 1967, and it doesn't appear this season will be any different. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Mac Jones is the heavy favorite (-700), trailed by Ja'Marr Chase (+400). The rest of the pack that's listed is Jaylen Waddle (+6500), Najee Harris (+10000), Javonte Williams (+10000) and Rashawn Slater (+10000).

No tight ends to be found. Again. *Sigh*.

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Poor Kyle Pitts. The Falcons tight end has largely flown under the radar, which actually might not be a bad thing if you're the No. 4 overall pick. If you are in the headlines, it's almost more likely that it's for a bad reason. But, no, Pitts has just been steadily churning along... to the tune of what actually turns out to be a pretty historic season for his position! How about that.

As a Reddit user pointed out, much to my surprise, Pitts is just one of five tight ends in the entire history of the National Football League that has reached 800 yards in his rookie year. There are five. That's it. Take a look (via Stathead):

Results Table
Rk Player Year Age Draft Tm Yds TD
1Mike Ditka*1961221-5, 1-8AFLCHI107612
2Jeremy Shockey2002221-14NYG8942
3Keith Jackson1988231-13PHI8696
4Charle Young1973221-6PHI8546
5Kyle Pitts2021211-4ATL8471
Provided by View Stathead Tool Used
Generated 12/21/2021.

Oh, and the season isn't over yet. I know a lot of you Falcons fans have called it quits on the team after their Week 15 loss against the 49ers, dropping their playoff odds to just two percent, but with Pitts, you've still got something to watch for. He will almost certainly surpass the three names above him on the list in a matter of time, if not in the next game alone, and a string of strong performances — like his explosive two-game stretch earlier in the year against the Jets and Dolphins, when he corralled 16 passes for 282 yards — could put him within striking distance of Ditka.

If he continues at his current pace, his 16-game output would look something like 66 catches and 970 yards. Let's compare that to some of today's great tight ends and the production that we saw from them in their debut season (via Stathead):

Totals Table
Rk Player Year
G Rec Yds TD
1Rob Gronkowski2010164254610
2Travis Kelce20131000
3Zach Ertz201316364694
4Darren Waller201562180
5George Kittle201715435152
Provided by View Stathead Tool Used
Generated 12/21/2021.

By the way, Pitts gets a 17th game as well. Put an asterisk next to whatever he ultimately ends with all you want, but you can't deny that he's been balling out. The future is bright — as are the next few weeks — for the 6-foot-6 athletic phenom.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)