NFL Top 100: 49ers' George Kittle ranked No. 29; DeForest Buckner left off?

NFL Top 100: 49ers' George Kittle ranked No. 29; DeForest Buckner left off?

George Kittle wears No. 87 for the 49ers, but now he's No. 29 in the NFL.

San Francisco's tight end was ranked as the 29th-best player in the league as part of the NFL Network's 2019 Top 100 rollout, which is voted on by the players themselves.

Kittle's lofty ranking was the product of an incredibly productive season, in which he broke the NFL single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end (1,377).

210 of those yards came in a Week 13 win over Broncos. "It was just impossible to stop him," said Denver sack artist Von Miller.

Another 82 yards came on a single catch against the Chargers in a Week 4, which Kittle described as "really fun."

"He shocked me with his speed. I didn't know he was that fast," said Chargers Pro Bowl safety Derwin James. "85 yards tells you how fast a guy really is."

As for his favorite catch of Kittle's from last season, 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner was all about the style points.

"Probably his one-handed grab [against the Raiders] on Thursday Night Football," said Buckner. "'Dude, that catch was insane!' And he was like, 'Bro, my eyes were closed.'"

Speaking of insane, you couldn't come up with a better term to describe the sheer ridiculousness that Buckner seems all but certain to be left off the NFL's Top 100 list entirely. This after registering 12 sacks and 53 quarterback pressures last season.

The Top 20 has still yet to be revealed. Players that have yet to be listed include: Patrick Mahomes, Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Ezekiel Elliot, Todd Gurley, Alvin Kamara, Saquon Barkley, Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, Antonio Brown, Michael Thomas, Tyreke Hill, Aaron Donald, J.J. Watt, Von Miller, Khalil Mack and Bobby Wagner.

That's 20.

[RELATED: Lynch believes improved 49ers should let Jimmy G flourish]

It's incredibly difficult to envision a scenario in which any of those 20 players are not regarded among the top 100 in the league by their peers. Of course, you could say the same thing about Buckner. But, given his lower profile relative to the others mentioned, it seems likely he's going to be left out.

100 players better than Buckner? Yeah right. You can't name 40, because they don't exist.

Daniel Brunskill's breakout shines spotlight on 49ers' practice squad

Daniel Brunskill's breakout shines spotlight on 49ers' practice squad

San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill spent the past two seasons on the practice squad of the Atlanta Falcons.

Brunskill, 25, knows what that's like. It is generally a thankless job. You’re in the NFL, but not really. That’s why Brunskill is officially known as a first-year player, even though he has been in an NFL building non-stop since May of 2017, when he signed with the Falcons as an undrafted rookie.

Players on the practice squad earn $8,000 for every week in that role during the regular season. The rookie minimum salary for players on the 53-man roster is $29,000 a week.

“Those guys work just as hard,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “They do just as much. Sometimes they have to do more, except on Sunday. They don’t make nearly the amount of money, but they are expected to do all the same stuff.”

Brunskill made his first NFL start on Sunday, lining up every snap for the 49ers at right tackle in place of Mike McGlinchey, who is expected to miss four to six games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage in his knee.

Brunskill’s first start was a success. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed just one quarterback hurry in his 36 snaps as a pass blocker.

In the tunnel outside the 49ers’ locker room at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Brunskill called the experience “pretty surreal.”

Then, he remembered from whence he came and devoted much of his time in the spotlight to bring attention to those on the 49ers’ 10-player practice squad, especially the guy who wore No. 99 and practiced as if he were Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

“I want to give a shout-out to all the P-squad guys because they stepped up big this week,” Brunskill said. “Kevin Givens and Jeremiah Valoaga really stepped up on the scout team defense to give us that D-line look.'

“Givens was No. 99. So he was getting after us and he did a great job of it. That was pretty awesome just to get us ready for that type of look. He did a tremendous job, no doubt.”

In addition to Givens and Valoaga, the two defensive linemen on the 49ers’ practice squad, Brunskill went on to name each of the other members of the unit: linebackers Elijah Lee and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, cornerback Teez Tabor, wide receiver Malik Henry, tight end Daniel Helm, offensive linemen Ross Reynolds, Will Holden and Jaryd Jones-Smith.

“This team is amazing and one of the best things about it is it’s a family,” Brunskill said. “Every guy is supportive. Every guy is there for you. Every guy has your back.”

Brunskill attended San Diego State as a walk-on tight end. He finally earned a scholarship after moving to offensive tackle before his redshirt junior season. On Sunday, he found himself lining up on occasion across from Donald, a five-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time first-team All-Pro.

“It was pretty awesome to say I’d be able to go against one of the guys who’s going to be coveted as one of the best players to ever play this game,” Brunskill said. “That’s pretty awesome to say that I blocked that guy before and to go against him. And he is a tremendous player, no doubt.”

[RELATED: 49ers' improved pass defense evident throughout 5-0 start]

Donald registered two sacks against the 49ers, but neither came during his head-to-head matchups against Brunskill.

Jalen Ramsey trade: Jaguars deal cornerback to Rams for draft picks


Jalen Ramsey trade: Jaguars deal cornerback to Rams for draft picks

The 49ers really messed with the Rams' heads.

In the wake of Los Angeles' 20-7 loss to San Francisco in Week 6, the Rams first traded cornerback Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday, and then made an even bigger move.

The Jaguars traded cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Rams in exchange for two first-round and one fourth-round draft pick.

[RELATED: Why gap between 49ers, Rams won't close after Ramsey trade]

Ramsey is arguably the best cornerback in the game, and has widely been rumored to be on the trade block ever since getting into a sideline confrontation with Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone in Week 2.

The All-Pro cornerback got his wish and got out of Jacksonville. The 49ers will see him in Week 16 when the Rams visit Levi's Stadium.