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PFF scouting report: George Kittle, TE, Iowa

Iowa tight end George Kittle, right, leaps to make a reception in front of Maryland defensive back Anthony Nixon during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Name: George Kittle

School: Iowa

Position fit: In-line or move tight end

Stats to know: Has only allowed a single quarterback pressure over the last two seasons combined. Earned the second-highest run blocking grade (79.6) in 2016 among the TE draft class.

What he does best:

  • Transitioned from a wide receiver/safety in high school to becoming one of the top blocking tight ends in the nation.
  • Attacks blocking assignments with an obvious, concentrated gameplan comprising excellent footwork, balance, and leverage.
  • Excellent blocking on the move, particularly on the backside of zone plays
  • Iowa utilizes a run-first offense, but Kittle still produced the seventh-highest yards per route run average (1.91) over the last two years from the TE draft class.
  • Quickness and speed make him a versatile receiving threat and capable of separating from linebackers.
  • Frequently drives defenders on skates well away from the play with exceptional technique.
  • Extensive footage available displaying his ability to dominate blocking defenders despite average size — listed at 235 pounds during his senior season.
  • Averaged 7.1 yards after the catch per reception over the last three years.

Biggest concern:

  • Durability concerns — injuries forced him to miss seven games over the last two seasons.
  • While his technique is well-above average, size may limit his ability to block in-line at the next level. May fit best as a No. 2 tight end and receiving mismatch.
  • Minimal special-teams experience.

Player comparison: Chris Cooley, Washington Redskins

Cooley is bigger than Kittle, but he could line up in multiple spots including H-back or in the slot. Kittle will likely play in a similar role, creating passing game mismatches while perhaps even providing more in the run game than Cooley.

Bottom line: Kittle has the athleticism to be a receiving mismatch at the next level though it’s his blocking that makes him a perfect fit as a No. 2 tight end capable of playing in a “move” role. He can separate from linebackers and safeties, whether attached to the formation or in the slot, and while he’ll likely never be a dominant in-line run blocker, Kittle projects as a useful matchup option in a two-tight end offense.

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