George Kittle

Niners' Kittle Earns Analytic Honor

Pro Football Focus gives tight end its highest grade for 2019 season.

Who was the NFL’s best player in 2019?

How about a fifth-round draft choice in his third pro season.

San Francisco tight end George Kittle built on what he did in 2018 – when he set the NFL’s single-season record for receiving yards at his position – by having another outstanding year and helping his team to the Super Bowl.

Now, Kittle has been rated by the analytic website Pro Football Focus as the No. 1 performer in the league this past season, based on his grade of 95.0.

In 2019, Kittle had 85 catches for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns, and also was an outstanding blocker, helping open holes for the NFL’s second-best running attack.

Wrote PFF: “Kittle was the best player in football in 2019. That doesn’t mean he was the most impactful or the most valuable, but on a snap-by-snap basis compared to other players, nobody was as good as the 49ers’ tight end. Kittle topped 1,000 receiving yards for the second season in a row and was one of the league’s most effective players after the catch. He averaged 7.3 yards per catch after the ball arrived in his hands, the most among players with 50 or more receptions, and he broke 20 tackles, which led all tight ends and wideouts.

“He also was a run-blocking monster, caving defenders from safeties to defensive linemen to the floor and opening up holes … His (grade) is the best grade PFF has ever given to a tight end – including Rob Gronkowski – and the best grade of any player, at any position, in football this year.” Pro Football Focus gave Kittle its annual Dwight Stevenson Award (named after the Hall of Fame center for the Miami Dolphins) as the league’s best player (regardless of position).

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