How Did the San Francisco 49ers Gamble on George Kittle?

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July 24, 2020 6:09 pm

When George Kittle entered the NFL Draft scene three seasons ago, nobody could have predicted his trajectory. The then-unheralded 23-year old ended up with the San Francisco 49ers as a fifth-round draft pick. Ever since that day, he has evolved into one of the best tight ends in football.

The 49ers clearly believed that Kittle was the real deal so the franchise gunned for him. Interestingly, Player Personnel Vice President, Adam Peters told the official team website that they had a third-round grade on him. However, they were confident that he would be available later, so they gambled and waited to draft him.

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“I remember scouting George Kittle at Iowa when I was with the Broncos, at the time,” Peters said. “He was a really unique athlete but wasn’t a really highly thought of prospect by most people. When we got to the 49ers, our coaching staff did a great job of identifying exactly what George could do, and exactly what George could be in our offense.”

He confessed that he was not sure if any other team knew of Kittle’s prowess and had their eye on him. Evidently, the 49ers thought that George Kittle was a third-round pick. However, they rolled the dice because they knew that he would be ripe for the picking in the fifth round.

The 49ers did not regret bagging George Kittle

Luckily, that risk paid off handsomely for the 49ers. Since donning the 49ers kit, Kittle delivered back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. In addition to that, he earned two Pro Bowl selections and an All-Pro nod. He even set the record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season, with 1,377 yards.

It is safe to say that George Kittle is a very dominant player in the NFL. Furthermore, the 49ers must thank their lucky stars that Kittle was still around for the fifth round. He went overlooked due to the fact that his college career did not reflect his talent.

“I don’t think we’d do it again. I don’t think we’d gamble on that again, obviously,” Peters continued, “But we were able to get George in the fifth round. Really, it was cool because we kind of called our shot a few weeks earlier and made it happen on draft day.”

Source: NBC Sports 

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