George Kittle is keeping elite company this season, according to Pro Football Focus.
The 49ers tight end has earned a 93.8 grade from the analytics site so far this season. If that grade holds, Kittle will have had the best season at the position since they started grading players in 2006.
George Kittle is putting together the highest-graded season we’ve seen at the TE position in the PFF era! 👀 pic.twitter.com/qWSRT6oBmz— PFF (@PFF) December 6, 2019
Though Kittle is far off his record-setting receiving pace from a year ago, he has graded out better than he did in 2018. Kittle finished his second NFL season with an 89.8 grade from Pro Football Focus, and he ranked 13th in the site's top 101 players.
PFF's methodology is just a bit more detailed than Doug Gottlieb's. Each player graded on a game-by-game basis by three separate analysts whose evaluations are "verified" by a network of former coaches, according to the site. Kittle has been a darling by PFF's metrics all season, grading out as the NFL's best player through the first four weeks of the season.
Kittle will have his hands full Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. He's set to match up against Cam Jordan while run-blocking and New Orleans has allowed the 13th-fewest receiving yards against tight ends this season. Saints coach Sean Payton praised Kittle's versatility earlier this week, indicating that New Orleans is focused on slowing the tight end down in order to limit the 49ers' offense.
As Kittle's grade shows, that'll be a tall order for the NFC's No. 1 seed.