George Kittle is the NFL’s perfect star. Coming off an 85 catch, 1,000 yard, and five touchdown season in 2019, Kittle earned a 5 year 75 million dollar deal to stay in San Francisco. To be honest, I was expecting Kittle to earn somewhere closer to twenty million dollars per season, but nonetheless he deserves every single penny of that extension. Here’s why.
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Kittle is a three headed weapon. He’s a great locker room guy, an elite pass catcher, and a terrific run blocker. That’s the full package for an NFL superstar.
As a pass catcher, Kittle isn’t just in an elite group for tight ends but for receivers too. In 2019, Kittle averaged 7.3 yards after the catch, the most by any player with fifty or more receptions. Plus, his 2,945 receiving yards in his first three NFL seasons are the most by any tight end in NFL history. Not to mention, he had the second most red zone receptions in 2019 only behind Michael Thomas. Impressive; right?
But perhaps more impressively is his effectiveness as a run blocker. Kittle isn’t just an elite run blocking tight end, but he’s an elite run blocker amongst all NFL players. And the stats prove it too. In 2019, per Next Gen Stats, the 49ers rushed for an average of 5.0 yards per carry with Kittle on the field versus 3.5 yards per carry when he wasn’t. Over a course of a game Kittle’s impact in the running game could give San Francisco an extra 40 or so rushing yards. Then multiply that by a full sixteen game season, and it’s no wonder that San Francisco ranked as the second best run offense in 2019.
Plus, when run plays had Kittle in their path, San Francisco’s ball carriers had the second-best average yards per carry of any tight end in the NFL. The numbers don’t lie. Kittle is an essential part to San Francisco’s offense in multiple facets of the game. Yet, why is he the NFL’s perfect star?
He’s elite as a run blocker and a pass catcher and although that’s certainly a major component to it, he’s simply fun to watch. His exciting brand of football is one of the best of any in the NFL. His bruising style, great quickness, and elite athleticism makes him constantly look for contact to break through. He bounces off defenders with ease, and he’s a yards after contact machine. Those attributes paired with his great personality and abilities to make his team better in multiple areas of the game not only makes him a joy for Kyle Shanahan, but for NFL fans too. That’s why he’s the NFL’s perfect star.