San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle has quietly emerged as one of the NFL’s best at his position this season. Through four games, Kittle has totaled 18 receptions on 28 targets, for 316 yards and 1 touchdown — including a career-best 125 yards receiving in week 4 against the Chargers. 82 yards of that total came on a fantastic catch-and-run, where he was able to show off just how fast he really is.

Kittle is currently averaging 17.6 yards per reception — up from 12 from last year. The Iowa product is on pace for a 1,264 yard season on 72 receptions. That would definitely surpass the best numbers a 49ers tight end has put up since 2009, when Vernon Davis hauled in 965 yards. While the 49ers Faithful has known about his potential for a while now, the rest of the NFL is just finally starting to get to know the name. Although he has been suffering from what appears to be a Vance McDonald-esque case of the dropsies, it has not hindered his performance significantly and is hopefully something he can leave in the first quarter of the season.

When the 49ers lost Jimmy Garoppolo for the rest of the season, it was only logical to assume that all of the pass-catchers on the team would suffer as well. However, that doesn’t seem to be entirely true. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the first game C.J. Beathard started is also the best game Kittle has had all season. After Beathard took an absolute beating on Sunday against the Chargers, who was at the podium after the game raving about his performance? None other than George Kittle.

“He’s [Beathard] a badass… C.J.’s got more grit than anybody I know”

A young quarterback’s best friend on the field is more often than not his tight end. However, the former Iowa Hawkeye teammates appear to have a deep connection that manifests both on and off the field. CJ converted three third-down passes to none other than Kittle in week 4 against the Chargers. That’s what you call a young quarterback’s security blanket!

Kittle currently ranks 3rd in the NFL in receiving yards for tight ends (behind Zach Ertz & Jared Cook), and 4th in receptions. I think it’s extremely plausible to suggest his rankings will continue to impress as the season continues.

It’s an understatement that someone needs to step up with Garoppolo out — players needed to step up with Garoppolo in! Now more than ever CJ’s supporting cast needs to step their game up and rally behind C.J. ‘Badass’ Beathard. George Kittle is the first to do so, and hopefully others will follow suit. I look for the young tight end to continue to put up impressive numbers for the rest of the season, and for the rapport between him and Beathard to only grow stronger and stronger each game.

Coming into last year’s draft, all the eyes were on tight end O.J. Howard, who went in the top-20 to the Buccaneers. However, John Lynch & Co. appear to have had their sights set on the real prize at the position, and in the 5th round too I might add. Don’t get me wrong, Howard is a physical beast on the field. However, Kittle is hitting his stride and starting to thrive in Shanahan’s system, which he appears to be perfect for. I’m almost certain Lynch wouldn’t trade him for just about anyone else right now.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season has in store for Stone Cold George Kittle!