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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Kittle, Warner, Williams top PFF position rankings; Bosa named 3rd best edge defender

May 31, 2024 at 12:36 PM

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As they do every offseason, Pro Football Focus has kicked off its annual rankings bonanza, already unveiling its lists for several position groups.

Fans are still debating San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy's No. 13 ranking among league passers. Wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel both secured top-10 spots and Christian McCaffrey, the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year, was named the top-ranked running back.

In addition to McCaffrey, three other 49ers topped their respective position group rankings: tight end George Kittle, linebacker Fred Warner, and offensive tackle Trent Williams.

George Kittle

Kittle's top ranking might spark debate among Kansas City Chiefs fans, who will argue that Travis Kelce deserves the No. 1 spot. However, Pro Football Focus analyst John Kosko provided a compelling case for Kittle.

"Kittle was the NFL's highest-graded tight end in 2023 at 87.7 overall, while Kelce finished second at 82.6," Kosko remarked. "Kittle's run-blocking grade also dwarfed Kelce's, 81.1 to 46.9. Their overall grades over the past three years are identical at 91.6. Kelce gets the nod in receiving grade (92.2 vs. 91.4), but Kittle's grade in the run game is far superior (80.8 vs. 56.0).

"In the end, there is little doubt who the best two tight ends have been over the past three to five years. Kelce's receiving ability is invaluable to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, while Kittle's overall game is a perfect fit for Kyle Shannahan's diversified run game and play-action pass attack."

Fred Warner

Warner's placement as PFF's highest-ranked linebacker comes as no surprise. Warner's 90.2 overall grade in 2023 was the best among NFL linebackers, with his 90.7 run-defense grade ranking third and his 84.4 coverage grade ranking sixth.

"Warner has been the gold standard at linebacker over the past four seasons, ranking as one of the position's 10 highest-graded players each year," explained analyst Gordon McGuinness. "His eight combined pass breakups and interceptions in the regular season and playoffs in 2023 were tied for the second most among linebackers."

Trent Williams

Speaking of gold standards, they don't come much better than Williams. At 35 years old, the veteran tackle remains one of the league's best offensive linemen. Pro Football Focus contributor Zoltán Buday notes that Williams put together another impressive performance last season despite struggling with an ankle injury.

Buday added, "His 92.5 PFF grade ranked second among offensive tackles last year, and he was the only player at the position to earn run-blocking and pass-blocking grades above 84.0."

Nick Bosa

While defensive end Nick Bosa didn't earn the top spot in Pro Football Focus' edge defender ranking, he did come in at No. 3, behind Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns and Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys.

"Bosa was close to Garrett and Parsons in pass-rush grade in 2023 (92.3), and his 21.8% pass-rush win rate ranked fourth in the league — behind Garrett, Parsons and Bryce Huff. Bosa is a consistently dominant force every year," wrote analyst Trevor Sikkema.

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