San Francisco 49ers tackle Joe Staley came in at No. 96 on Pro Football Focus' list of the top 101 players from the 2018 season. A second 49ers player made the list, and it is his first time doing so.

The analytics site ranked second-year tight end George Kittle at No. 13 based on his performance in 2018.


Pro Football Focus' rankings treat all positions equally, which means you won't see positions No. 1 through 32 occupied solely by quarterbacks. They also factor postseason play into the equation.

"No player in the PFF era has ever racked up more yards after the catch in a single season than Kittle did in 2018," wrote the PFF analysis team. "Not just tight ends – everyone. His 873 yards after the catch were also 200 more than we've ever seen from a tight end before. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider that his targets came from backup quarterbacks all season."

Kittle found himself without Jimmy Garoppolo for most of the season after the quarterback suffered a season-ending torn ACL during Week 3. The tight end spent the remainder of the season catching passes from second-year quarterbacks C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens.

When it comes to yards after the catch, the next closest tight end was Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs with 574. Kittle edged out Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, who had 860, for the most yards after the catch by any player in 2018.

Kittle set an NFL single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end this past season after an 88-catch, 1,377-yard, and five-touchdown campaign. In addition to his record-setting 2018 season, Kittle was also selected to and played in his first Pro Bowl and was named a second-team All-Pro. He has averaged 14.4 yards per catch in his two seasons with San Francisco.

While San Francisco has won just 10 games during Kittle's two NFL seasons, the tight end said in January that he has a lot of confidence in the 49ers' chances of success in 2019.

"I think we definitely had the most rookies play two years ago, my rookie year," Kittle said on NFL Network during the week leading to the Pro Bowl. "Then this year we had a bunch of rookies play. So we've got a very young team, including myself. I'm only going into my third year.

"I feel like everyone is getting their legs underneath them. Once you get a rhythm and you've got [Garoppolo] back and [Jerick McKinnon], we've got some weapons. So I am definitely very confident in our season next year."

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