No. 1: The People’s Tight End
Without a shadow of a doubt, the 49ers’ biggest late-round draft steal of the century is tight end, George Kittle. He has proven himself as not just one of the best tight ends, but one of the best players in the league. He was selected out of Iowa in the fifth round (146th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.
In his rookie season with the 49ers, he had 43 receptions, 515 yards and two touchdowns. He looked to be a solid option for the team. But in his sophomore season, he came back and logged 88 receptions for 1,377 yards and five touchdowns.
In doing that he set a single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end. Not too shabby.
In the 2019 season, his third in with the 49ers, he again had a 1,000 plus-yard season. And while he didn’t break his own yardage record, he proved to be a go-to option in the 49ers offense. He again showed he could make tough catches, as well as pick up key yards after the catch and block like an offensive lineman.
The most defining accolade of Kittle’s 2019 season, though, was his Pro Football Focus grade. PFF gave Kittle a 95.0 grade. That is the highest single-season grade given to any player since PFF started grading players in 2006. Kittle has shown that he is not just one of the best late-round draft steals, but also one of the best draft picks in the recent history of the 49ers.