New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick never gives opposing NFL teams bulletin board material. He's always effusive in his praise for that team's players and coaches before playing them that week.
So, it was no surprise when Belichick gushed over the talent and potential of Atlanta Falcons rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 draft, ahead of Thursday night's matchup at Mercedes Benz Stadium.
But this praise felt a little different and more meaningful than Belichick's typical weekly compliments for opponents.
The legendary coached even used the term "superstar" when describing Pitts during an interview with WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" on Monday morning.
“Everything is a problem," Belichick said. "This guy, I thought last year in the draft, just watching him, he’s phenomenal. He’s big, he’s fast. He’s got great hands and adjusts to the ball and makes tough catches. Savvy route-runner and can get open. Very hard to match up against. I was reading through some of the Atlanta comments and you hear them comparing him to a cross between Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones, and I’d say that’s about right. That’s what it looks like. He's one of the superstars of the NFL already.
"I’m sure he’ll break all the rookie tight end receiving records. I think he’s on pace to, but he’ll be right there. This guy’s got a tremendous career in front of him. He can play every position. He plays end of the line of scrimmage, he can play in the slot, he can play outside. He’s got a great skillset. He’s competitive, he’ll block. He’s good after the catch. He’s a matchup nightmare."
Wow, I don't think there's anything Belichick left out there.
Pitts has tallied 40 receptions for 604 yards and one touchdown through nine games. He caught four passes for 60 yards in the Falcons' 43-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Pitts leads the Falcons in both receptions and receiving yards.
His toughest test of the season will be Thursday against Belichick's defense, which is one of the league's top units. A great performance from Pitts would be quite impressive and boost his stock even higher as the Offensive Rookie of the Year race heats up.