It took George Kittle 16 games in the NFL to match the catch total of his entire four-year college career.
And while nobody is expecting Charlie Woerner to turn into the next George Kittle, his activity on the 49ers’ practice field during training camp suggests he would have produced a lot more than 34 receptions for 376 yards over his 27-game college career at Georgia.
When the 49ers selected Woerner in the sixth round of the draft, the expectation was they were adding a blocking specialist at tight end to pair with Kittle’s blend of blocking and receiving.
But, maybe, Woerner is a lot closer to Kittle than anyone would have known.
“He is a good blocker and he does things in the pass game, too,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said of Woerner. “I mean, he's George in that way. I know everyone said we drafted a blocking tight end in George, only because he didn't have any pass stats.
“I'm not trying to put that pressure on Charlie, but he comes in and earns his way by being a tough player by really wanting to get after it in the run game.”
Woerner’s tough-minded approach to the game was apparent when the skill players got together for some offseason workouts outside of Nashville in June.
Kittle reported back to the 49ers’ coaching staff that the organization found a keeper in Woerner.
“George told us when he met with him in Tennessee, that we had the right type of guy,” Shanahan said. “The first thing he said to George was how bored he was with all these pass plays. ‘When are we going to start learning some run plays?’
“So I think that can kind of show you his mentality, which is similar to George's and similar to our whole tight end group. We’ve got some tough guys who do the run and the pass game, and they enjoy both plays.”