Monday, April 13, 2020

Kittle crowns Dallas Clark as one of the greatest TEs ever


Former Iowa and current San Francisco 49er tight end made headlines during Friday’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) for Bleacher Report when he was asked to give his top five tight ends in NFL history.

There were the obvious picks like Rob GronkowskiAntonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez, but he also sent social media into a frenzy when he listed former Iowa and Indianapolis Colt tight end Dallas Clark. He also mentioned Kansas City Chiefs' tight end Travis Kelce.

Clark was the staple for Iowa that really began its run of great tight ends. Since Kirk Ferentz took over in 1999, the Hawkeyes have produced 11 draft picks at the position. Clark was a consistent player throughout his career and was a security blanket for soon-to-be hall of fame quarterback Peyton Manning. He caught 505 receptions for 5,665 yards during his 10 seasons in the NFL.

Kittle has emerged as one of the top tight ends the NFL. He finds a way to be effective even when one aspect of his game isn't working. Kittle has developed into one of the best run-blockers in the NFL. His aggressiveness, technique and strength provide the 49ers a versatile weapon in both phases of the game.

The former fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft caught 85 receptions for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns this year for the 49ers. He is the fifth player and first tight end in 49er history to record multiple seasons of 1,000 passing yards.

“I do, yeah,"49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said earlier this season when asked if Kittle is the best tight end in the NFL. "He just does so much for our offense, like you said, in the run game, pass game, even if he’s a distraction on a play. He’s willing to do whatever you ask him to and for a guy of that talent to do that, it’s impressive.”

Kittle was graded as the highest rated player in the NFL this season, according to Pro Football Focus.

"Kittle’s overall grade of 95.0 wasn’t just the best grade of any tight end in the game this season (by some distance), but was the best grade of any player at any position league-wide," PFF wrote. "A lot of players in the NFL had phenomenal seasons, but at the end of watching and grading every player on every play of the NFL season, George Kittle graded out as the best in football, and he rightfully deserves the Dwight Stephenson Award for his efforts."

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