Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Lens: How TE George Kittle (49ers) Mastered YAC


Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Lens profiles the league-leading yards-after-the-catch prowess of 49ers tight end George Kittle. 

Last year, George Kittle broke the NFL record for receiving yards in a season for a tight end with 1,377 yards. More impressively, Kittle led the NFL in yards after the catch (YAC) with 870 yards—205 more than James White, 112 more than Saquon Barkley, and 19 more than Christian McCaffrey.

The next best tight end on the list was Travis Kelce with 569 yards after the catch—10th on the league’s leaderboard.

What makes Kittle so good with the ball in his hands? Elite quickness, acceleration, contact balance, and strength are the characteristics most will cite.

While these physical skills are all factors that make Kittle the Master of YAC, there are a quicker, stronger, and/or faster NFL players—and at positions usually in more advantageous situations to earn YAC. Another factor is Kyle Shannon, watch the videos below and you’ll notice that Shannahan moved Kittle around the offense to earn match-up advantages.

Athletic ability and scheme a go-to reasons for fans, football writers, and many scouts. Still, if you want to learn to see the invisible thread that unites the various skills and traits of top players, you have to look deeper.

These three videos below reveal that the differentiating factor with Kittle’s YAC success is the refined awareness that every technique he employs as a receiver is designed to create space and efficient movement as a runner. Watch these routes, and you’ll see a receiver who is doing everything possible to maximize space and set up transitions that get him into open field.

Speed, strength, quickness, and balance are raw materials. Routes and transitions are techniques used to shape these materials into a finished product. However, the binder that holds all of it together in its refined form is the awareness necessary to maximize the connecting points with each of these raw materials and techniques.

When you can begin to see the binding forces within a player’s game, you’re graduating from identifying the keywords and phrases of a player’s story to fully formed ideas and themes.

For the most in-depth analysis of offensive skill players available (QB, RB, WR, and TE), get the 2019  Rookie Scouting Portfolio. If you’re a fantasy owner the Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2018 RSPs at no additional charge.

Best, yet, 10 percent of every sale is donated to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse. You can purchase past editions of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio for just $9.95 each. You can pre-order the 2019 RSP now (available for download April 1).

Categories: 2017 NFL Draft, Matt Waldman, Players, The NFL Lens, Tight EndTags: , , , , , ,

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