Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Focus ranks George Kittle as the NFL’s top tight end

Aug 11, 2020 at 6:09 AM--

Pro Football Focus recently ranked NFL tight ends into tiers, naming San Francisco 49ers tight end Georg Kittle as one of two tier-1 players. The other was Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs. Now, Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus has ranked the NFL's top 15 tight ends, and the 49ers' All-Pro comes in at the top spot.

Linsey notes that the decision for the No. 1 spot came down to Kittle and Kelce, and that both are game-changers but in very different ways. Kittle, the 49ers' best receiving threat and one of their best run-blockers, is widely considered to be the league's best overall tight end. Linsey notes just how difficult it is to bring Kittle to the ground.

"There's just not much about playing the tight end position that he doesn't do at an elite level," Linsey wrote of Kittle. "He tore single coverage apart in 2019, proving too athletic for many linebackers and safeties and too physical for most cornerbacks in one-on-one matchups. His 79.8 run-blocking grade since 2018 puts him up with the run-game specialists at the position."

Kittle has assumed the mantle from Kelce as the NFL's after-the-catch king among tight ends. The former has racked up 1,494 yards after the catch over the past two seasons, which is 517 more than Kelce. Kittle also has 37 broken tackles, seven more than any other non-running back.

Kittle awaits a new contract extension, and the 49ers say they are rigorously working toward one.

"We're working diligently," general manager John Lynch said last week. "I can tell you that. I'm not going to get into the timeframe. We are working diligently to come to a resolution. I've been on record saying what George means to this place."

San Francisco made Kittle a fifth-round draft pick out of Iowa in 2017. He is entering the final year of his rookie deal.

"I know how bad Kittle wants to be here, and I know how bad we want him to be here," head coach Kyle Shanahan said recently. "Usually, when both sides want the same thing, at the end, it finds a way of working itself out."

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