Top tight ends in NFL: 49ers’ George Kittle is No. 1, but who else?

George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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George Kittle, 49ers
George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

NFL’s top tight ends, No. 1: George Kittle, 49ers

2019 Pro Football Focus Grade: 95.0

Football Outsiders DVOA: 18.9 percent

85 receptions, 1,053 yards and five touchdowns

Not only was George Kittle at the very top of the league’s top tight ends in 2019 and heading into 2020, he was also Pro Football Focus’ Dwight Stevenson Award winner.

In case you weren’t sure, that’s given to the No. 1 player in the league from the previous season, not just a tight end.

Kittle’s 1,053 receiving yards weren’t at the top of the list in that category, of course. And his five touchdowns marked only half the position high held by another player on this list. But it’s important to remember Kittle missed four games last season while playing with both ribs and ankle injuries, and three would-be touchdowns in 2019 were called back because of penalties.

For those wondering just how much of an impact he could provide in clutch situations, there’s always this to watch:

Yes, that led to a game-winner for San Francisco.

But Kittle’s overall value goes far above the basic stats and clutch performances. He’s simply the best all-around tight end in the league. If the Niners need a decoy to open up plays for someone else, Kittle is the best to do it. Creating yards after the catch? Well, his 599 yards of this type led the league at his position.

And don’t forget about his blocking. His 76.2 run-blocking grade from last year ranked fourth among tight ends who had at least 50 percent of offensive snaps last season, and those players above him come nowhere close to the overall offensive impact.

No wonder San Francisco inked him to that five-year, $75 million extension.