San Francisco 49ers: Young players who prove future is bright

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /
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Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images /

TE George Kittle (25)

I don’t think anyone expected the breakout season George Kittle has enjoyed. An overlooked asset at tight end, the former fifth-round pick has not-so-quietly emerged as one of the league’s very best receiving options at the position.

Seriously, his productivity has been nearly off the chart this year. Apart from touchdowns (again, a team-wide problem), Kittle has been the definition of an elite tight end. He’s already racked up 1,154 receiving yards on the season, and came within five yards of breaking the NFL single-game receiving yards record back in Week 14.

The crazy part is that he’s only in his second NFL season. If we’re already watching him put together record-breaking performances, it’s easy to get carried away with the possibilities of even a year or two from now. Or, better yet, the possibilities when Garoppolo is back under center.

Kittle really is everything you want in a modern tight end. On top of excellent size and strength, he’s a smart route runner, possesses excellent hands and is very instinctive after the catch. Plus, you could probably make a case that he’s an elite athlete, further assisting him in filling the highlight reel on Sundays.

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Garoppolo’s return may be what most 49ers fans are looking forward to. And yet, if we’ve learned anything this season, it’s that Kittle may actually be San Francisco’s most exciting offensive weapon. It’s hard not to be giddy about what he can accomplish when catching passes from a top quarterback instead of a third-string signal caller.