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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


49ers had a third-round grade on George Kittle but gambled in 2017 draft, says Adam Peters

Jul 23, 2020 at 7:20 AM--


The San Francisco 49ers loved George Kittle as the Iowa tight end entered the 2017 NFL Draft. Did they know he would eventually become one of the best to play the position? Probably not. Did they view him as a fifth-round pick? No.

If NFL teams redid that draft, there is no way Kittle would last beyond the first few selections. Back in 2017, San Francisco wasn't even sure he would make it to the fifth round. The team had a higher grade on Kittle but gambled by waiting to select the player who would eventually become one of the most entertaining young stars in the game.

"I remember scouting George Kittle at Iowa when I was with the Broncos, at the time," 49ers VP of player personnel Adam Peters recently told 49ers.com. "He was a really unique athlete but wasn't a really highly thought of prospect by most people. When we got to the 49ers, our coaching staff did a great job of identifying exactly what George could do, and exactly what George could be in our offense.

"I don't know if anybody really knew how good George was going to be, but we had targeted him, and we had really a third-round draft on George. So, we thought he was a third-round pick, but we gambled, and we knew that we could get him in the fifth round."

Since then, Kittle has earned two Pro Bowl selections and first-team All-Pro honors while recording back-to-back seasons of 1,000-plus yards. In 2018, he set a new NFL record for single-season receiving yards by a tight end with 1,377 yards after hauling in 88 passes.

"I don't think we'd do it again. I don't think we'd gamble on that again, obviously," Peters continued, "but we were able to get George in the fifth round. Really, it was cool because we kind of called our shot a few weeks earlier and made it happen on draft day."






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