When you have a standout rookie tight end, like Kyle Pitts (or to a lesser degree, Pat Freiermuth), the assumption is to think they’ll come back and light things up in their second season. They have a better command of the offense, as well as a better idea of what defenses are trying to do. But it doesn’t play out that way as often as you would think.

Instead, the opposite tends to be. Those “up and coming” tight ends more likely get worse statistically.

Below see the list of the last 12 tight ends who’ve finished with top-10 numbers in their first season (using PPR scoring). Of this group, two thirds of them in their second season finished with lessened numbers, while also ranking lower at the position overall. (In the chart below, I've got those guys tagged with black dots.)

I’m not trying to talk anyone out of Pitts. He’s a talented guy. He’s on a crappy team, possibly making it tough for him to again reach 1,000 yards, but he’s certainly not scoring only one touchdown again. I have some worries about some of the other big-name tight ends (Waller, Kittle, Goedert), and I think you can consider selecting Pitts before those guys.

But the idea that somebody did well as a rookie, so they’re almost certainly improving in Year 2, that’s not happening.

TOP-10 ROOKIE TIGHT ENDS (the next yr)
1989• Keith Jackson, Phil.636483145.82-28%
2022Kyle Pitts, Atl.??????
2003• Jeremy Shockey, NYG485352113.59-35%
2018• Evan Engram, NYG455773126.313-27%
1999• Cam Cleeland, N.O.26325166.525-58%
1981• Junior Miller, Atl.32398389.816-43%
2009John Carlson, Sea.515747150.4132%
1988• Robert Awalt, St.L.394544108.49-16%
1996• Ken Dilger, Ind.425034116.37-10%
1991Eric Green, Pitt.415826135.2418%
2003Randy McMichael, Mia.495982126.8413%
1989• Ferrell Edmunds, Mia.32382388.29-18%
1998Freddie Jones, S.D.576023137.2533%

—Ian Allan