5 toughest tight ends on Bengals 2023 schedule

  • Three tight ends on this list play in the AFC North
  • The top two spots seem pretty obvious

Dec 12, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) catches a pass
Dec 12, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) catches a pass / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
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2. George Kittle

The San Francisco 49ers also have a player considered one of the best at his position, George Kittle. The second-team All-Pro finished third in the NFL with a career-best 11 touchdown receptions. He also recorded 60 catches for 765 yards.

Kittle was not selected for the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams solely based on his receiving numbers. He is also an excellent blocker for the 49ers offense. Discussing Kittle's blocking skills, PFF’s William Moy wrote, “As a run blocker, Kittle finished the year tied for third among tight ends with a 10.9% positive run-block rate, while his 431 run-blocking snaps were the second most at the position”.

The 49ers finished the 2022 season with the seventh-most rushing yards in the NFL despite not having a running back rush for more than 1,000 yards. Their tight end was instrumental in their success rushing the ball. 

And like Freiermuth, Kettle should be freed up to do even more now that the 49ers have drafted a pair of tight ends in this year’s draft. Even though Cameron Latu was selected in the third round and Brayden Willis was taken in the seventh, expect Willis to be a guy to get significant playing time. He is an excellent blocker and a pass catcher who takes some of the pressure off of Kittle.

Hopefully, Kittle will be one of the toughest tight ends Cincinnati will see twice this season. The first time will be in Week 8. The second occasion would be the Super Bowl. 

Cincinnati’s defenders will have a tough time matching up against Kittle. Let’s hope they perform well against the player considered the second-best tight end in the NFL.