49ers

How 49ers George Kittle could be one of the all-time great tight ends

How 49ers George Kittle could be one of the all-time great tight ends

George Kittle is getting the recognition he deserves. The 2018 Pro Bowler was just named the top tight end in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.

He had a sensational finale during the 48-32 loss to the Rams by breaking the NFL single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end. With nine catches for 149 yards that day, he finished his season with 1,377 yards.  

But did you know Kittle also produced the most yards after the catch by a tight end since PFF began grading in 2006? 

And not only did that happen, but the last time a tight end had that high of a number of yards after the catch was from Rob Gronkowski ... in 2011 -- he had 656 yards that season.

That's quite the jump.

"I would imagine it's an all-time situation for Kittle, but there is no data to confirm," Gordon McGuinness of PFF told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Every year, PFF's staff grades and analyzes every play of the NFL season from beginning to end. The grading is very comprehensive and the site doesn't take this lightly.

Needless to say, the 26-year-old is really good and while we knew that, it's nice to see his report card is one worthy of putting on the refrigerator at home. 

What 2020 NFL Draft picks 49ers have following Emmanuel Sanders trade

What 2020 NFL Draft picks 49ers have following Emmanuel Sanders trade

The 49ers’ trade Tuesday to acquire wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders from the Denver Broncos means, as of now, the 49ers can sleep in on the second day of the NFL draft.

The 49ers still own their first-round draft selection in 2020. But the club traded away their second-round pick to acquire edge rusher Dee Ford from Kansas City. And the 49ers gave up picks in the third and fourth rounds to get Sanders, who is under contract only through the end of the season.

The first round of the NFL draft will be held Thursday, April 23. The following day, the NFL will conduct the second and third rounds. The final day of the draft, April 25, will consist of the fourth through seventh rounds.

The 49ers have six scheduled draft picks, including two apiece in the fifth and seventh rounds.

[RELATED: How Sanders trade helps 49ers battered receiving corps]

The 49ers are also not expected to be awarded any compensatory draft picks because this year they had more net gains in free agency, led by the signings of linebacker Kwon Alexander and running back Tevin Coleman.

The acquisition of Sanders could set up the 49ers to re-coup one of the draft picks sent to Denver. If Sanders plays well for the remainder of the season and signs a lucrative contract elsewhere, it could lead to the 49ers getting a 2021 mid-rounds compensatory pick.

And if the 49ers, as expected, finish among the top teams in the league this season, the selections sent to the Broncos will be in the late portions of the third and fourth rounds.

49ERS 2020 DRAFT PICKS
1. First round: Own pick
2. Fifth round: Denver pick from WR Emmanuel Sanders trade
3. Fifth round: Own pick
4. Sixth round: Own pick
5. Seventh round: Own pick
6. Seventh round: Detroit  pick for LB Eli Harold, 2018

Original picks traded:
Second-round pick traded to Kansas City for LB Dee Ford

Third- and fourth-round picks traded to Denver for Sanders

How Emmanuel Sanders trade helps 49ers' badly battered receiving corps

How Emmanuel Sanders trade helps 49ers' badly battered receiving corps

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch long have maintained their belief in the 49ers' wide receivers, but that group's lack of production might have forced their hand.

Two days after 49ers receivers had four total catches during a 9-0 win at Washington and one day after Shanahan said "I do think the answers are here," the team went outside to acquire two-time Pro Bowl wideout Emmanuel Sanders in a trade with the Broncos.

Tight end George Kittle leads the 49ers in receptions (34) and receiving yards (376) through six games this season, and no other player has reached 200 receiving yards. Marquise Goodwin is the closest at 181, but now the 49ers will have Sanders, who has caught 30 of his 44 targets for 367 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Sanders had been vocal about that relative lack of production in Denver, as he has broken the 1,000-yard mark three times as a Bronco. The 49ers, meanwhile, would love to have that production.

Kittle likely will be the immediate beneficiary of Sanders' arrival, as opposing defenses will have to focus on another explosive target and might lighten pressure on the tight end. Sanders also should be an immediate weapon for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, having worked in Rich Scangarello's Broncos offense, which is very similar conceptually to Shanahan's 49ers scheme. Scangarello previously was the 49ers' quarterbacks coach.

The 49ers had hoped for more production from second-year pro Dante Pettis, who has struggled with a pectoral muscle injury since training camp and caught just nine of his 17 targets for 83 yards and one TD. The injury bug has further thinned the 49ers' receiving ranks, as Trent Taylor, who stood out in training camp, was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 20 after a setback with his foot, and third-round draft pick Jalen Hurd landed on the list on Oct. 3 with a back injury. Second-round pick Deebo Samuel missed Sunday's win with a groin injury.

[RELATED: Staley could return to 49ers practice this week]

Shanahan has stayed consistent with his praise of the receivers, but he also has said the team would watch for potential help. The trade for Sanders appears to be an attempt to do just that.

"We're always looking to improve, but I do like the guys we have here," the coach said Monday.

One day later, Lynch and the 49ers' braintrust made their move.