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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Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
Zach Ertz #86 of the Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

NFL’s top tight ends, No. 4: Zach Ertz, Eagles

2019 Pro Football Focus Grade: 73.4

Football Outsiders DVOA: minus-4.3 percent

88 receptions, 916 yards and six touchdowns

While Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski have long been considered the standard-bearers among the league’s top tight ends over the years, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz has certainly kept himself in the conversation.

The three-time Pro Bowler came close to backing up his 1,100-plus-yard campaign in 2018, netting 916 yards and two fewer touchdowns while missing one game in comparison to the fully healthy season he enjoyed the year before. The negative DVOA is a bit of anomaly, as it signifies the kind of value per play based against an average tight end.

But whatever questions raised there are mostly answered by Pro Football Focus’ analysis on his ability to beat man coverage. Per PFF, Ertz boasted the second-highest separation percentage against man coverage last year (63.3 percent), and he also was more than effective against zone schemes, too.

As far as all-around offensive weapons go, few exceed more than Ertz.

Like George Kittle, Ertz is one of the league’s best route runners and has been doing so for years now. While he might not be in the same category as a player like Kelce and Kittle, Ertz is certainly just a few shades behind and well-deserving of the No. 4 spot on this list heading into 2020.