Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

George Kittle is off to a historic start with the 49ers

Al Sacco
Jan 6, 2020 at 9:00 AM1

The San Francisco 49ers have never had a tight end like George Kittle.

In just his third season in the league, Kittle has established himself as the most complete player at his position and earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2019. In fact, he was so dominant this year that his grade of 95 was the highest score ever given to a tight end by Pro Football Focus.

At 79.4%, Kittle had the second-highest catch rate for any player with at least 50 targets. His 6.1 catches per game tied him for the most among tight ends and his 3.11 yards per route was the highest mark in the league according to PFF.

However, to truly appreciate Kittle, you have to understand that he's not just a game-changing receiver, but also a vital part of San Francisco's overall offensive attack as a blocker. For example, when Kittle was injured in Weeks 10 and 11, the Niners' rushing attack averaged just 2.6 yards per carry. That number's a far cry from the 4.8 yards per attempt it averaged when Kittle was in the lineup.

What might stick out the most about the former 5th-round pick though, is where he ranks historically in 49ers' history so early in his career.

Consider that Kittle's 2,945 receiving yards are the third most of any 49ers' player in the first three years of his career, trailing only Jerry Rice (3,515) and Dave Parks (3.021). He joins Rice, Terrell Owens & Anquan Boldin as the only four San Francisco pass catchers to post back-to-back 1,000 yard receiving seasons, and is just the fifth player to have multiple 1,000-yard receiving years in red and gold (Rice, Owens, Boldin, and John Taylor are the others).

Kittle also owns the top two receiving years in San Francisco history for any tight end in both yards and catches, and his 173 combined receptions from 2018-2019 are the most for a Niner in back-to-back seasons since Owens had 180 in 2002-2003.

Considering what he's already accomplished, the sky seems to be the limit for where Kittle can go from here. He'll no doubt be a priority for the 49ers to lock up long-term, as he continues to be a cornerstone piece of the team.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

1 Comment

  • David
    Wishing George all the best.
    Jan 6, 2020 at 5:48 PM

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