San Francisco 49ers: Top 5 rookie seasons in the Kyle Shanahan era

Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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No. 5: 49ers tight end George Kittle (2017 NFL Draft)

I’m not sure if you know this guy. He only broke the tight end receiving yards record in his sophomore season with San Francisco and is often touted as the best tight end in the NFL.

I’m of course talking about George Kittle, the 2017 fifth-round NFL Draft pick.

This two-time All-Pro has quickly become one of the league’s most electric playmakers in just three short years in the NFL. Kittle not only makes waves in the receiving game but crushes opponents as a blocker as well. Kittle is often touted as one of the most complete tight ends the NFL has ever seen.

His rookie season with the 49ers was not necessarily filled with gaudy stats, but it was a preview of what was to come for the uber-athletic tight end. His 43 catches for 515 receiving yards and two touchdowns in 15 games (seven starts) were enough for Kyle Shanahan to see what he truly had in Kittle.

Interestingly enough, those 43 catches and 515 yards set a new modern-era NFL record for tight ends selected in Round 5 or later.

He was, of course, unleashed onto the NFL in 2018 and posted one of the greatest tight end stat lines of all time. His receiving stat line as a rookie is even more impressive if you consider that Kittle was seen as nothing more than a run-blocking tight end by the entire league his rookie season.

Kittle was a true bright spot for Shanahan during his rookie tenure with the 49ers on an otherwise forgetful roster in 2017.