With the 146th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers selected ...
The tight end from Iowa had a solid rookie season, racking up 43 catches for 515 yards and two touchdowns.
On the latest episode of the 49ers Insider Podcast with Matt Maiocco, NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell was talking about Kyle Shanahan and Rams head coach Sean McVay. And then, unsolicited, Cosell pivoted the conversation to Kittle.
"You know, I think one player we should mention who I really liked coming out of college -- and I know he fought some injuries last year, but I think that he has a chance to be a really meaningul part of this offense -- and that's George Kittle," Cosell said. "I think George Kittle is a really good tight end who can do a lot of things.
"He can line up and be a really good blocking tight end -- and obviously we know that Kyle's offense does start with the run game. I think he's more athletic than people probably give him credit for.
"I remember studying him coming out of Iowa and looking at some of his combine measureables -- some were superior to those of OJ Howard from Alabama, and I think people would be surprised by that.
"In this offense, he might not catch 80 balls, but he might average 14, 15 yards a catch, and for a tight end, that's pretty darn good."
Kittle had his best game in the season finale, making four catches for 100 yards at the Rams.
There is a lot of hope surrounding the 49ers entering the 2018 season.
Much of that is because of Jimmy Garoppolo.
Much of that also is because of Kyle Shanahan.
"Kyle is one of the most innovative and creative offensive minds in football," cornerback Richard Sherman said back in mid-March after he signed with the 49ers.
On the most recent episode of the 49ers Insider Podcast with Matt Maiocco, NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell offered some high praise for San Francisco's head coach.
"When you look at a Kyle Shanahan offense, I think the thing that stands out the most -- that he does better than any coach in the NFL -- is the fusion between the run game and the pass game," Cosell said. "The run game and the pass game with their play-action concepts look exactly the same.
"And it's very, very difficult for defenses to differentiate the two very often until it's too late. And when you have a quarterback like Garoppolo -- who tends to be a quick decision-maker, a quick processor, he has a very quick compact delivery and then the ball gets out -- I think that just makes it even more difficult."
The 49ers won all five of Garoppolo's starts last season and put up 26, 25, 44 and 34 points in the last four games, respectively. Garoppolo was rewarded with a five-year, $137.5 million deal ($74.1 million guaranteed) -- which drastically increases the expectations.
Garoppolo and Shanahan could become one of the top head coach-quarterback duos for many years.
"When you talk to defensive coaches around the league, they will talk about Kyle Shanahan as one of the two or three of the best in the league when it comes to offensive design and game planning," Cosell added.
It was widely speculated that the 49ers would select a defensive player with their first-round pick.
So it was a surprise to many when they selected offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey at No. 9 overall last Thursday.
Hey Greg Cosell -- did you like the pick?
"I like McGlinchey overall as a player," Cosell said on KNBR 680. "I would say arguably he's more of a finesse offensive tackle than a physical power player. He's a little narrow-framed, a little high-cut. But he's really efficient -- he does not have a lot of bad snaps, he plays with consistent technique and execution.
"With coaching, he will get better."
Head coach Kyle Shanahan was effusive in his praise for McGlinchey.
“To me, what separates Mike from everyone else is the person you're getting,” Shanahan said. “It always starts with the film, always, and he has that ability. He has that talent. But, the soldier, how committed he is to football -- his football character.
"He's an O-Lineman who has started 39 straight games. I'm sure he has some injuries, but we haven't seen it because he doesn't talk about them and he just plays.”
Nate Solder -- who played his first seven seasons with the Patriots after being selected 17th overall by New England in 2011 -- signed a 4-year, $62 million deal with the Giants in March.
Is McGlinchey a similar player?
"That's a very good comparison," Cosell said.