Congratulations! You've just made the wonderful decision to draft George Kittle! Like most new Kittle owners, you're no doubt filled with questions about your new family member. We here at GIA will try our best to answer any questions you might have.
HELLO SAN FRANCISCO!
WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT GEORGE KITTLE?
You want a tight end that can make some impressively athletic catches and display glue-like hands? He can do that:
Checkout the hands on TE George Kittle, 6-4, 250, 4.52 40t. He would be a nice weapon for Ben down the middle. pic.twitter.com/Hc15V6QE1r— Steel Legends (@Steel_Legends) April 8, 2017
You want a tight end that can put his hand down, hold the edge, and block someone straight out of the play? He can do that too:
good lord George Kittle that is someone's child: pic.twitter.com/Pvi7fCSNu0— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) March 26, 2017
Kittle is an Iowa tight end so his blocking pedigree shouldn't really be in doubt -- you don't play much tight end at Iowa if you can't block -- but his blocking skills go beyond that. He was regarded by some draftniks as the best blocking tight end in this year's draft. But he's hardly just a blocking tight end; his pass-catching skills are legit, too.
WHAT DID HE DO THAT'S SO GREAT?
Kittle redshirted in 2012 and played very limited minutes in 2013 and 2014, but he emerged as a virtual co-starter with future NFL tight end Henry Krieger-Coble (his cousin, weirdly enough) in 2015 and was the main option at tight end in 2016. Unfortunately, his stats aren't that impressive, owing to an offensive scheme that (annoyingly) underused tight ends and a passing game that was beset with multiple injuries (including one to Kittle) over the last two seasons. But he emerged as a tremendous weapon around the end zone -- 10 of his 25 catches the last two seasons went for touchdowns -- and when healthy he was a reliable first down-getter as well.
HOW ARE HIS PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES?
Kittle turned some heads at the Scouting Combine, finishing among the top performers at tight end in several drills there. Most notably, he ran the 40 in 4.52 seconds, which is pretty damn good for a tight end. Kittle also has a strong vertical jump (35") and good overall size (6'4", 247 lbs) for the position. He has plenty of size and speed to play the tight end position in the NFL.
PRO DAY RESULTS:
WHAT ABOUT THE BAD?
Kittle's route-running was inconsistent at times and will need some polishing at the next level. There are some technique things that he'll need to work on as well, including his separation and his positioning downfield. And while he has the size to play tight end, he's probably not quite big enough to handle some bigger defenders on his own in the blocking department.
WAS THIS A GOOD PICK?
I'd say so, especially if you're not expecting him to be a major contributor right away. Unlike a lot of college tight ends, he's not just an overgrown wide receiver. He has legit blocking skills, so he'll be able to contribute at the NFL level in that department. In the short term, he should also be able to produce for an NFL team on underneath routes and help move the chains. In the long term, he could develop into a very solid, well-rounded tight end as he hones his skills. Good luck in the NFL, Mr. Kittle.