The leader in NFL analytics has produced its annual list of the best 101 players in the league.

Tight end George Kittle and left tackle Joe Staley earned their spots on the rankings of the NFL’s best players in the rankings from Pro Football Focus.

Surprisingly, the 49ers' defensive teammate, DeForest Buckner, did not make the list.

Buckner was added to the NFC Pro Bowl team after a breakout season during which he led the 49ers with a career-high 12 sacks. Buckner, a three-year veteran, is eligible for the first time this offseason to sign an extension with the 49ers.

Kittle made his debut on the list at No. 13 overall. He led the 49ers with 88 receptions for 1,377 yards to set the NFL record for most receiving yards in a single season from a tight end.

”No player in the PFF era has ever racked up more yards after the catch in a single season than Kittle did in 2018. Not just tight ends -- everyone,” PFF wrote, in reference to his 873 yards after the catch.

PFF also noted that most of Kittle production came in the 13 games after Jimmy Garoppolo’s season-ending knee injury with reserve quarterbacks C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens distributing the football.

[RELATED: How Kittle wants to get even better in 2019]

PFF bases its list solely on the 2018 season, and performance in the postseason is also taken into account.


Staley made the list for the sixth time in his career, checking in at No. 96. PFF said Staley finishing in the top-10 in overall grade among offensive tackles. He allowed just 25 total pressures and four sacks in 609 pass-block snaps this season.

Here is PFF’s top 20:
1, DT Aaron Donald, L.A. Rams
2, WR DeAndre Hopkins, Houston
3, QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City
4, QB Drew Brees, New Orleans
5, DT Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia
6, WR Michael Thomas, New Orleans
7, QB Tom Brady, New England
8, LB Bobby Wagner, Seattle
9, CB Stephon Gilmore, New England
10, DE Khalil Mack, Chicago
11, DT Akiem Hicks, Chicago
12, QB Andrew Luck, Indiananpolis
13, TE George Kittle, 49ers
14, S Eddie Jackson, Chicago
15, DT Chris Jones, Kansas City
16, DE Cameron Jordan, New Orleans
17, DT Grady Jarrett, Atlanta
18, LB Luke Kuechly, Carolina
19, DE J.J. Watt, Houston
20, S Jamal Adams, N.Y. Jets