George Kittle’s sophomore campaign was one for the record books.
Kittle broke several franchise records including the most receptions in a single season for a tight end (88). He also surpassed Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce to set the NFL record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season (1,377 yards). Kittle can also add the title of a Pro Bowler onto his budding résumé as the was selected to his first career All-star game this season.
Kittle’s historic season has been recognized by Pro Football Focus as the tight end was named to their 2018 NFL All-Pro Team. Here’s what PFF had to say about the tight end’s remarkable campaign:
“What Kittle did with a melange of backup quarterbacks – and as a run blocker – was quite simply one of the best seasons we’ve ever graded from the tight end position. Not only did he break the record for most receiving yards in a season by a tight end, he broke the PFF record for yards after the catch by any position player for a single season. His 873 yards after the catch were 299 more than (Travis) Kelce.”
Kittle's yards after the catch in 2018 was the most of any player in PFF era dating back to 2006.
San Francisco's tight end wasn't the only member of the 49ers recognized by the football analytics site. Here's a look at which other 49ers impressed in 2018.
Staley earned an 82.2 overall grade in 2018. His mark ranks tied for sixth among all NFL tackles. In addition, Staley earned a 75.4 run blocking grade that also ranked sixth.
McGlinchey finished the year as the highest-graded rookie tackle (73.2) and the second-highest-graded rookie offensive lineman. Like Staley, McGlinchey was stout as a run blocker, notching a 78.2 grade in that category, the best among rookie offensive linemen and second among all tackles.
The 49ers defensive lineman totaled 12 sacks and 55 quarterback pressures. Buckner managed to record at least two pressures in every game in 2018.
San Francisco’s veteran cornerback proved he could still play at an elite level despite making a return from last season's Achilles injury. Sherman saw the fewest targets and allowed the fewest receptions in the NFL in 2018. Sherman allowed one catch per 20.2 coverage snaps this season, the best number in the NFL among qualifying cornerbacks. When on the field, quarterbacks opted to shy away from Sherman’s side of the field. His 12.6 coverage snaps per target also ranked first, and his 0.72 receiving yards allowed per coverage snap was fourth.