Travis Kelce may have the slight edge in the pass game, but
George Kittle is the tougher player to defend when you consider everything he does in the pass
and run games. Kittle can move players from
Point A to Point B at will and loves doing so. As
a willing blocker, the young
49ers tight end does wonders for Kyle Shanahan's offense as Kittle can eliminate almost every defender from a play. In the pass game, Kittle often gets wide open thanks to Shanahan's offensive genius but he deserves credit for forcing missed tackles on receptions this season. According to Pro Football Focus, Kittle leads all tight ends in the category with 20 (including playoffs), proving he's tough to bring down.
Both of these guys are so good, but I'm giving the edge to
Travis Kelce. He is so versatile in the pass game, which allows Andy Reid to line the tight end up anywhere on the line. In fact, according to Next Gen Stats, Kelce has aligned as an isolated receiver on 26.1 percent of his routes (highest among TEs, min. 200 routes), and he has been extremely productive in the process. Kelce caught 32 of 45 isolated targets for 452 yards and a TD this season (including playoffs). There isn't a defender who's been able to consistently shut this guy down.
Y'all know by know that I'm a huge
George Kittle fan. And although his postseason numbers have underwhelmed, defenses must account for him on every play because he's always around the ball. The thing that separates him from
Travis Kelce is his presence as a blocker. In my opinion, they are comparable as pass catchers but Kittle is leaps and bounds ahead of Kelce as a blocker, moving his opponents effortlessly.
I have to roll with
Patriots coach Bill Belichick on this one. At a press conference back in December, Belichick called
"one of the best receivers in the league." He can run every tight end route and every wide receiver route on the tree, and even cornerbacks have a hard time defending him. Kelce has been able to win against safeties, linebackers and cornerbacks with great acceleration and burst off the line.
There are players who are tough to bring down. Then are those who demand lunch-pail-bringing defenders on every play. That's the difference between
Travis Kelce and
George Kittle. The
49ers tight end is a beast, especially once the ball is in his hands. He's not a guy who's just going to fall down when touched; instead, he'll drag a pack of defenders with him for what feels like forever. Kittle averaged more than 7.0 YAC per catch this season, evidence that you can't take your eyes off him.