Kyle Pitts was described as the best tight end prospect in NFL history by some draft analysts. He did become the highest-picked tight end in NFL Draft history when the Atlanta Falcons selected him fourth overall in April.
A rookie head coach himself, how is Arthur Smith handling his prized rookie? Throughout his tenure, Smith has gone out of his way to focus on the collective, not individuals. But the coach has a fine way of framing this in Pitts' case.
"He's not a kid,'' Smith said. "He's a man."
Continued the coach: "No, we don't give Kyle any special treatment. It's all the rookies. Sure, we’ve got expectations for all of them. It's just keeping things in perspective. We know how they come along ... I talked about keeping perspective. We're so quick to make snap judgments and label this and you get narratives going and it’s just not true."
"There's a lot of narratives being built, but ultimately the story has been told and the season's over, and hopefully, when these guys have long careers."
READ MORE: Falcons vs. Titans How to Watch
How is Pitts progressing?
"It's not going to be perfect for him,'' the coach said. "It's a foreign environment. Obviously, the competition's – everybody's pretty good in the NFL, the guys that play on Sundays, and you want to see how they adapt and it's not overreacting, keeping the big picture in sight, and you want to make sure that they're improving, and they're not just all of a sudden reaching a point where you're getting diminishing returns ... Overall with this class, I'm pleased.
Smith is especially pleased with the progression Pitts has shown in preseason and is relatively shocked at how mature he is at age 20.
“You got to give him credit, give his parents credit. We did all the work pre-draft with Kyle, he's certainly more mature than I was at 20,'' Smith said.
"He's not a kid. He's a man."
Pitts is also taking on man-sized duties, as he's spent training camp lining up in a variety of ways to take advantage of his uniqueness.
"He's coming along,'' Smith said. "An easy way to say it, he's right where he needs to be. That's the best way to answer it."
Falcons LISTEN: Trade Grady Jarrett?
Locked On Falcons: The Future of the Atlanta Falcons Pass Rush
Falcons Get Help in Latest Mock Draft
The Atlanta Falcons invest significantly in their defensive line while getting their quarterback of the future in Draft Wire's latest NFL Mock Draft.
LISTEN: Will Falcons Sell At Trade Deadline?
Locked On Falcons: Atlanta Falcons Red-Zone Improvement, Trade Rumors & Mailbag