George Kittle leads six 49ers ranked in PFF's top 101 players of 2019

Matt Maiocco
NBC Sports BayArea

George Kittle was voted as the winner of the 49ers' most-prestigious team award.

He also took home the top league-wide honor from Pro Football Focus as the best overall player from the 2019 season.

Kittle, as PFF describes it, graded out as the best player, regardless of position, in the NFL last season on a snap-by-snap basis. He was among six 49ers whom PFF graded among the top 101 players in the league.

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Kittle, who was voted by his 49ers teammates as winner of the Len Eshmont Award, had 1,053 receiving yards and five touchdowns in the regular season.

He averaged 7.3 yards after the catch, most in the league among players with 50 or more receptions, according to PFF. He led all tight ends with 20 broken tackles.

Kittle, who also is an outstanding blocker, had the highest grade PFF has ever given to a tight end. His grade was the best in the entire NFL in 2019. He appears to be in line to become the league's highest-paid tight end this offseason.

Here are the other top 10 players, according to PFF's grading system:
2. DT Aaron Donald, L.A. Rams
3. QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
4.
QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
5.
G Brandon Brooks, Philadelphia
6. DE T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
7.
QB Lamar Jackson, Baltimore
8. WR Michael Thomas, New Orleans
9. T Ryan Ramczyk, New Orleans
10. DT Cameron Heyward, Pittsburgh





Five other 49ers were ranked among the top 101, according to PFF:

13. CB Richard Sherman
Sherman was not challenged much during the regular season. When teams went his way, they often paid the price. Quarterbacks who tested him had a 45.3 passer rating for the entire season, despite his struggles in the Super Bowl, according to PFF. He gave up just 227 passing yards in the regular season on his way to his fifth Pro Bowl recognition.

28. DE Nick Bosa
Bosa, who placed one spot ahead of his brother, Joey, registered the most pressures PFF ever has recorded by a rookie. PFF has been around since 2006. Bosa only got better in the postseason with 22 pressures in three games, including 12 in the Super Bowl. Bosa, the No. 2 overall pick, won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

30. DE Arik Armstead
Armstead had his breakout season with a team-high 10 sacks during the regular season. He recorded a total of nine sacks in his first four seasons. He had 73 quarterback pressures for the entire year, which is one shy of doubling his previous career high, according to PFF. He also produced a career-best 42 defensive snaps, as he proved to be a force both as a run and pass defender. Armstead is scheduled for unrestricted free agency, but general manager John Lynch said the 49ers' goal is to keep him around for "a long time."

54. S Jimmie Ward
Ward never spoke out during his first five NFL seasons. Despite constant position changes, Ward did not complain. He just did his job. This season, the 49ers kept Ward at safety, and he remained healthy. The results showed. Ward did not register an interception, but he broke up eight passes and was a big reason no team surrendered fewer pass plays of 20 yards or more. Ward likely is one of the 49ers' top priorities to re-sign this offseason as a scheduled unrestricted free agent.

[RELATED: How DeForest Buckner, George Kittle impact 49ers' free agency decisions]

82. DT DeForest Buckner
Buckner is described by PFF as "a player with no real weaknesses." After the 49ers' three postseason games, Buckner ended the season with a career-high in quarterback pressures. He registered 7.5 sacks in the regular season and 2.5 more in the postseason. There's no question what the 49ers coaching staff thinks of Buckner. He was named the winner of the Bill Walsh Award, which is given to the 49er who has best represented the standard of professional excellence established by the Hall of Fame coach.

George Kittle leads six 49ers ranked in PFF's top 101 players of 2019 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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