The new San Francisco 49ers regime received high grades for their first draft, but you can’t really judge a draft until you’ve seen how much the players contribute in their first season. Rookie wide receiver Trent Taylor and tight end George Kittle have already contributed enough in their first season to make it worth a mention.
25 wide receivers were drafted before Taylor and he has already recorded enough receptions to be ranked third in number of receptions of all rookie wide receivers and ninth out of ALL rookies. Kittle was the ninth tight end drafted and has the sixth most receptions of all rookies after week nine, second most of all rookie tight ends. Full rookie reception totals list below from draftseason.com.
- Christian McCaffery RB, Carolina Panthers – 54
- Alvin Kamara RB, New Orleans Saints – 38
- Evan Engram TE, New York Giants – 34
- Kareem Hunt RB, Kansas City Chiefs – 32
- Tarik Cohen RB, Chicago Bears – 28
- George Kittle TE, San Francisco 49ers – 27
- Cooper Kupp QR, LA Rams – 26
- Ju Ju Smith Schuster WR, Pittsburgh Steelers -24
- Trent Taylor WR, San Francisco 49ers – 24
- David Njoku TE, Cleveland Browns – 18
The stats for most receiving yardage for all rookies is similarly impressive for both Taylor and Kittle. Both remain in the top ten of all rookies and top two or three in their position group.
- Ju Ju Smith Schuster WR, Pittsburgh Steelers – 424
- Evan Engram TE, New York Giants – 412
- Christian McCaffery RB, Carolina Panthers – 407
- Cooper Kupp WR, LA Rams – 370
- Alvin Kamara RB, New Orleans Saints – 341
- Kareem Hunt RB, Kansas City Chiefs – 325
- George Kittle TE, San Francisco 49ers – 277
- Tarik Cohen RB, Chicago Bears – 234
- OJ Howard TE, Tampa Bay Bucs – 231
- Trent Taylor WR, San Francisco 49ers – 207
While it is still early in their careers to deem them a success yet, both rookies are off to a remarkable start that should put them in the “draft steal” category. It’s difficult to remember the last time a rookie receiver or tight end has had a immediately positive impact for the 49ers, let a lone two in one season.
Unfortunately, both players will be out on Sunday’s match up with the Giants. Kittle is dealing with an ankle injury, while Taylor broke a rib on a non-contact play. Kyle Shanahan said he is hoping to get Taylor back after the bye week. If they both can return in Week 12, they could still work themselves into the top 10 of these lists come season’s end. Both players have been bright spots on a team that has had it’s challenges to find positives.