Name: George Kittle
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.
- 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.