Projecting TE George Kittle’s rookie stats

In Wednesday’s minicamp report, I wrote that rookie tight end George Kittle would make more than 50 catches next season. How many catches do you think he will make? How many touchdown do you think he will score? Will he start? Project his rookie stats and explain your projections.

This article has 98 Comments

  1. 22 catches
    1 TD

    The guys a rookie. Don’t set unreasonable expectations on him based on what you see without pads. You’ll make it seem like a failure even if he has a successful rookie season.

  2. Kittle corn should pop for 35 catches and 4 TD’s if the amount of 1st team reps he received is any indication. This team has lacked a true, consistent seam route threat at TE for years. Maybe since Brent Jones. He’ll start part of a rotation with Paulsen, and Dirty Martini. Shanny likes to spread the ball around, which is why I don’t see him getting 50+ touches….

    1. I’m somewhere between Houston and Razor. I think Kittle will have somewhere between 20-30 catches and maybe 2-4 TDs.

    2. remember a guy named Vernon Davis??!! he had 13 td’s in one year……not to mention a 3-4 years stretch where he probably averaged 10 td’s……..and his best route, by far, was the seam!!!!

      with that said, I loved brent Jones! and he was a great receiving Te!
      Vernon Davis was a superior athlete….but BJ was a far better, more natural receiver

      1. I also remember their rookie years. Do you?
        VD -20 receptions -3 TDs – 265 yard
        BJones – 2 receptions- 20 yards 9 TDs

        See why I’m not overboard on the rookie?

        1. Not quite my point. Rookies very rarely have anything but fairly pedestrian 1st seasons. I don’t expect Kittle to have all pro numbers.

          I would expect a lot of spreading of the ball this year.

            1. Part of that was an inaccurate passer who would put people going across the middle in danger of being walloped.

  3. I think that Kittle is capable of 25 catches and 9 TDs…in what I perceive as a strong passing game, he as well as Jusickyz (sp) will give us red zone receiving comparable to the glory days…

    1. 9 TD’s? Yikes! Would have been good for the league best last year. I’d have to use my no way in hell card on that one, but I sure wouldn’t be upset if I was wrong…;>)

            1. Pretty sure you can get a No Way in Hell Card in Texas but there’s a registration required and a 3 day waiting period. Guess I’ll need to get registered though. 9 TDs on 25 catches would be insane for a rookie 5th round TE playing with a bad QB. Not gonna happen.

          1. When Hell, Michigan froze over, I just KNEW the Niners were going to win their first SB.
            Maybe you could get a -No way in Hell -card from there.

      1. He is a typical blissful. He is probably one of those that swore that we were stacked at corner, oline and wideout last year.

      1. Tis a bitter brew…..
        Kittle will get opportunities, but so will Juszczyk.
        I also expect the RBs will be targeted with swing passes.
        With WRs garnering throws downfield, the ball is getting spread around a lot.
        Kittle will get on the field if his blocking is good enough. If not, he should best just study hard and work out to gain strength. He should play on ST, too.
        Kittle may get 24 catches for 240 yards, and 4 TDs.

  4. 20 receptions, 220 yards, 3 TDs. He’ll start 2 or 3 games because of njuries to the vets. But his production will tail off pretty quickly during the season as defensive coordinators figure out that Hoyer can only throw reliably inside the hashmarks, and so they shade into the middle to stop the Niners passing attack, such as it is. Made worse by the inconsistency of the OL, which still needs lots of help, as Hoyer is often forced to hurry his throws.

  5. My guess is as good as anyone else so I will give mine.
    George Kittle
    31 receptions
    3 touchdowns
    7.5 per catch average…. after becoming the starter in game 5.

  6. Shanahan hasn’t shown himself to be excessively heavy into the TEs. But Kittle will probably be the best athlete he’s ever had at the position so I’ll go reasonable:

    50 receptions
    12.3 YPC
    5 TDs.

    He could do more. I mean, a worn out ‘never was’ Tamme wasn’t much of TE in Atlanta. But he did have 59 catches two years ago. But we’ve got “jewels” or whatever his nickname is to compete with some potential receptions.

    1. The weaknesses of the WR corps will force Shanahan to target the RBs and TEs more than he’s had to in the past. That said, opponents will flood the middle of the field and attack the Niners OL to exploit the limitations of the offense. Kittle will be in the mix for his share of targets, but he’ll make his share of rookie mistakes, and if he shows a lot of talent, the defenses will smother him.

      1. Freemen and Colemen had over 80 receptions alone in 2016 for Shanny’s Falcons, and they certainly were not a weak wide receiving team.

        1. Arguably the quality of those Atlanta WRs was one of the reasons the RBs were so effective in the passing game. Defenses had to concentrate on the WRs to prevent big plays — and Matt Ryan was capable of throwing every pass in the book — freeing up the RBs to sop up all those passes as well as do well in the running game. Just a guess that it won’t work quite the same way with the cast of characters the Niners will be putting on the field when they have the ball.

  7. 35 plus receptions, 5 – 6 TDs, 300 plus yards. He’ll be in the conversation for offensive rookie of the year. Sure, why not wing it and take a flyer . . .

  8. GeorKittle:

    0 receptions
    0 touchdowns
    0.0 per catch average

    He’ll take a tip from you and sit on the couch with a bag of Cheetos and the remote and con others to do his work…

    1. Naw, I would be happy to get away from the boring old standard of forcing the QB to be only a pocket passer.
      I would like to see naked bootlegs, rolling pockets and flea flickers. Maybe Bell could used in an innovative manner. Wonder how many passes has Kittle thrown in his college career?

  9. I think he’s actually going to catch 144 passes for 1544 yards and 33 touchdowns, rush for 2286 yards and kick 9 field goals. Oops, that’s in the other universe, you know, the one where Kaep and Fangio resign with the team! Sorry! ;))

  10. I don’t think any of Atlanta’s TEs had more than 22 receptions around 270 yards and 3 TDs or less. I figure this has to be the high water mark for any TE especially a rookie.

      1. That just means that TEs have had for more opportunities to be open In Atlanta. If I receivers are as bad as we think they wont be open and Kiddle will be far more closely guarded and won’t have the opportunities he otherwise might have.

  11. Weird. My reply ended up on a different post. Anyway, you could be right about the potential upside. We really only have two decent, proven WRs and one of them is a slot guy while the other is slowing down.

    (As did this one. Weird.)

  12. Vance McDonald Stats:

    46 grabs
    575 yards

    I’m expecting a couple big plays from him in garbage time against lesser opponents.

    The problem with this team is the offense will start off decent but once the league gets the tape on how Shanahan will use our excellent offensive personnel they will easily be able to shut it down.

    And on defense it will be the opppsite as the defense will struggle for the first half of the year adjusting to a new scheme. They will get better as the year progresses and our talent upfront and in the secondary begins to shine.

    1. The league already knows what Shanahan likes to run. But Kyle can run a ton of different plays from different formations. A three TE set that looks like a run could be a play action, or after the D shows their formation, Kyle could send Juice out wide to take advantage.

      Shanahan has a lot of options.

      In the running game he has Hyde, Williams, and Hightower, maybe Breida. In the passing game he has Garcon, Kerley, Goodwin, ( field stretcher) Taylor, Juice, Kittle, Hyde, Hightower, and hopefully Williams can become a viable target.

      Shanny will not be figured out for long stretches. He has too many weapons and different plays for that to happen.

      1. Not really. If you look at the Falcons compared to the NFL, they ran slightly more than average (42% to 41%) last year and slightly under the year before (39% to 41%). If you look at their internal rushing splits, in 2016 28% of their runs were in the 4th quarter, whereas the year before (2015), they ran fewer rushes in the 4th quarter because they were often behind (24% of rushes).

        So all I see is a very standard NFL balance. FWIW, he does like to establish the passing game early. In both years the fewest rushes (under 100 each year) were in the first quarter.

        1. Moses,

          You either completely missed my point or you deliberately tried to misrepresent my post.

          My post was about Shanahan’s ability to keep teams guessing regardless of formation. You are trying to make it seem like I said they will run the majority of the time.

          You misrepresent people on this site often. You also post stats and act like you are the only one that looks at stats. You frequently say things to the effect of ‘most people don’t know’.

          Your insecurity is on display for the entire blog to see. You say obvious things like 2+2=4. Well no F’n $hit Sherlock.

  13. This dude will be so good that by the 2018 season he’ll sign an endorsement with Skittles to lend his name to Kittles Red and Gold candies.
    This year tho, 19 catches 181 yards 2 TDs.

    1. I forgot,
      Are you sure that you aren’t vying for the job to be Kittles’ publicist and business agent?
      Must admit, you have a good business outlook. But that said, Kittle will need to make a huge splash in the NFL before Skittles looks his way.
      I think Marshawn Lynch will continue to hold the Skittles torch on the heels of his comeback with the Sin-City Raiders.

    2. Early in Montana’s career local media called on fans to provide Joe with a nickname–before he injured his back and was winning his second (and beyond) super bowls. The name that carried the day was ‘Big Sky’, or Big Sky Montana. After lots of ooh and ahh hoopla it died away…rather quickly.

      1. There’s a Big Sky Drive in Rocklin where the 49ers used to train. Not sure which Montana it is named for though.

        1. The worse nick-name (believe it was teammates induced) was Jerry Rice’ “Fifii” …. glad it was short-lived.
          Best nick-name was “Hacksaw” Jim Reynolds.
          Since we’re doing a little reminiscing. The best 49ers celebration dance was Merton Hanks.

          1. You can’t beat the Hacksaw nickname. Bar None was cool. I never liked the VD nickname because it sounds gross.

  14. Kittle will start. Kittle will have 40 catches for about 450 YDs and 5 TDs. Those numbers could go higher if Beathard takes over.

  15. Hard to say because if it is true that Shanny is going to run and use play action a lot they could be in a lot of 2 and 3 TE sets and the question is which one gets the targets. I would expect that a dominant TE will be established after they get some WRs who can dominate. If our WRs can’t establish a threat, opposing Ds can focus on shutting down our go to TE.

  16. Hard to call at this point.
    We’ve only seen the kid in shorts.
    We don’t know how well the OL will block the run game, so
    We don’t know how much pressure the pass attack will be under and
    We haven’t seen the OL pass block and so
    We haven’t seen the QBs throw under pressure or
    How opposing DCs scheme coverages or
    How Shanny game plans or
    How WRs and TEs get separation in live action.
    Given those unknown variables, I have no idea how many catches or TDs the guy might get. With all due respect, none of us do. Whistling in the dark.

    1. George, it IS just idle speculation during the off season, and no more practices for a while.
      If you want me to change the subject, I have a multi player deal…..

    2. George,
      Agreed. Like everything else at this point, it’s all guesswork – but it’s an interesting topic non-the-less.

      1. This time of year we get a diet of mostly popcorn:
        Cheap, cheesey & salty but little lasting value.

        Next phase of summer for the team:
        How many felony arrests before TC?
        How many misdemeanors?
        I’ll take the optimistic long odds and guess:
        (It could happen!)

        How many troublesome/inappropriate/unfortunate tweets and texts and posted pics? I’ll take the safe odds:
        more than none.

  17. I’ve been thinking, maybe it would be a good marketing venture to sign Kaep and start Kittle!

    And the Kaep in the Kittle and the silver spoon (Jed)
    Little boy blue and the man in the moon
    “When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when
    But we’ll get together then
    You know we’ll have a good time then”……………NOT!

    1. Ahh, Harry Chapin. Taxi…

      It was raining hard in ‘Frisco (Seb’s storm fading…)
      I needed one more fare to make my night
      A guy up ahead waved to flag me down
      He got in at the light

      Oh, where you going to, my guy in red
      It’s a shame your jersey’s all grass stained
      He just looked out the window, he said
      “Any where but here”

      Something about him was familiar
      I could swear I’d seen his face before
      But he said, “I’m sure you’re mistaken,
      I don’t play here no more”

      1. ‘You see, she was going to be an actress,
        And I was going to learn to fly.
        She took off to find the footlights,
        I took off for the sky.
        And here, she is acting happy,
        Inside her handsome home.
        And me, I am flying my taxi (blog site)
        Giving tips, and getting stoned.
        I go flying so high, when I am stoned.’

      2. Big yellow Taxi-
        Listenin’, late last night,
        I heard the screen door slam.
        And a big yellow taxi.
        Took my QB away.
        Now, dont it always seem to go,
        That you dont know what you got,
        Til its gone.

  18. When Shanahan was at the Redskins he had Fred Davis and Jordan Reed at various pounts. Both guys had in the 40 to 60 catch range. In 2014 at the Browns Jordan Cameron had 24 catches in 9 games, averaging 18 ypc.

    Given the WRs aren’t great I think it is conceivable Kittle gets between 30 and 50 catches if he wins the starting job, even though he is a rookie.

    But if he gets close to the 50 mark then don’t expect any of the receivers to have great years.

  19. Yep Cassie, a lone, lonely cab ride without a destination. “You reap what you sow”! Kudo’s to Harry!

  20. I think the receivers will do a lot better than last season. They actually have speed, and Lynch was smart to sign battle tested and battle hardened FAs. With more PA, that is contingent on them having a decent running game. The Niners signed well, traded well and drafted well, so the RBs should be much improved.
    The running game will do better because they will employ a lot of 2 TE sets. Kittle may do well in those scenarios, because KS will target Kittle with a LB. That is why I think he will get passes, and also get 4 TDs. It sure was telling to see Kittle run with the first string. However, 50 is way too many to expect from a rookie.

    1. As the OL goes, so goes the offense, regardless of (or lack of) fancy skill players.

      Zuttah was a nice addition to replace the truly underwhelming Kilgore, but it’s hard to see how effective the line will be for Shanahan’s offense to be executed competently. Last year they were awful, terrible at pass protection and routinely getting pushed around on running plays. Their best OL has a better attitude this year, but he’s not getting any younger. Both guard positions are unsettled, and — let’s face it — the RT, god bless ’em, is switching to a completely new scheme for which he isn’t the prototypical physical type.

      Pretty sure FA and draft next year will focus on OL, QB, WR, and CB/S .

      1. Yes, I am heartened to see the Niners signing offensive linemen, even last week. That shows that they are not satisfied, and want to improve
        I hope they play players in their right position. If Zuttah does not stay healthy, maybe they should put Beadles in at center instead of Kilgore. I sure hope they let Garnett play at LG, his natural position. Maybe Kilgore should play RG.
        Fusco, Barnes and Gilliam are all wild cards.

  21. If he does become the number 1? I say 45rec and a little over 400yds and 6 TDs. Hoyer really liked Zach Miller in CHI, so there is a chance Kittle gets the Red zone touches to get him to 6 TDS.

  22. 49ers 2017:

    George Kittle: 34 REC, 459 YDS, 13.5 AVG, 4 TD’s
    Kyle Juszczyk: Receiving – 38 REC, 304 YDS, 8.0 AVG, 2 TD’s, Rushing – 15 ATT, 68 YDS, 4.5 AVG, 3 TD’s
    Pierre Garcon: 69 REC, 849 YDS, 12.3 AVG, 5 TD’s

    1. These numbers are on my low end and could be higher. As a rule of thumb I like to keep my performance predictions on the conservative side, allowing for pleasant surprises.

  23. Depends if and when the other TEs get injured. Vance McDonald will be the #1 starter, as he has proven himself to be a the best blocker and a major red-zone threat. He is also a powerful physical specimen, lightning fast for his size, and always gives 100%. Coaches love his work ethic. Then, 2nd, there’s the guy Lynch signed as a free agent. He’s going to get his reps, for sure. Finally, Kittle will be groomed throughout the season for more and more emphasis. His time will come, but I don’t think he’ll flourish until the 2nd half of the season. Coach Shanahan likes to bring in his rookies slowly, just as he plans on doing with QB Beathard.

  24. Hey Grant,
    I like Kittle too but 50 catches??? where is that coming from? 1. A shanahan TE has not had 50 catches since fred davis back in 2011. Plus shanahan likes paulsen has used him in the past alot, his best receiving years are with shanahan. Considering he will get a big share of the the snaps even if kittle does take the starting job. My guess is his numbers will look like this
    20-25 catches 300-325 recieving yards and about 3td which would be a great rookie season for him.

    1. Jordan Reed caught 45 passes in 9 games as a rookie under Shanahan in 2013. That’s 5 catches per game. If Kittle makes 4 catches per game, that’s 64 catches.

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