San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle had a big game on Thursday in the win over the Oakland Raiders. I realize this is not shocking news. He caught four passes for 108 yards and a touchdown, highlighted by this insane 71-yard catch-and-run.
After the game, Kittle said, “I closed my eyes, 100-percent ... I just kind of stuck an arm out there and it fell in my hand.”
Through nine games, Kittle has 41 receptions for 692 yards and three touchdowns. That puts him on pace for 72 receptions, 1,230 yards, and five touchdowns. He’s currently third among tight ends in receptions and first in yards.
Earlier this week, Pro Football Focus put together their midseason All Pro team. They have been big on Kittle, and included him on the team. He currently ranks first among tight ends in yards per route run, and is eighth in pass blocking grade.
Travis Kelce is likely to earn traditional media All Pro honors, in part because he’s a great tight end, but also because he is a notable name. Kittle will likely be competing with Zach Ertz for second team All Pro honors. Kittle is better than both as a run blocker, and has emerged as a dynamic pass catcher in his second year. The 49ers hit an absolute home run with their 2017 fifth round pick, and have a core piece around which to build their offense.