San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle, who set an NFL record for most single-season receiving yards by a tight end with 1,377, was selected as the 2018 NFL Most Improved Player of the Year.
As a rookie in 2017 after being selected in the fifth round by the 49ers, Kittle caught 43 passes for 515 yards (second among NFL rookie tight ends), two touchdowns and a 12.0 per-catch average. This season, Kittle led the 49ers with 88 receptions for 1,377 yards (eighth in the NFL), five touchdowns and a 15.6 yards-per-catch average. He was one of four tight ends to lead their team in receiving yards in 2018. Kittle had six receptions of 40 or more yards (led all NFL TEs and was tied for second overall in the league), and he led all tight ends with 20 catches for 20 yards or more. He had four 100-yard receiving games, including a seven-reception, 210-yard game against Denver in Week 14, the third-most yards by a tight end in the NFL since 1960.
Kittle is the second member of the 49ers franchise to receive NFL Most Improved Player of the Year honors since the award was instituted in 2000, joining quarterback Jeff Garcia (2000).
PFWA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 2000 – QB Jeff Garcia, San Francisco 49ers; 2001 – QB Kordell Stewart, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2002 – QB Chad Pennington, New York Jets; 2003 – QB Jon Kitna, Cincinnati Bengals; 2004 – QB Drew Brees, San Diego Chargers; 2005 – DE Osi Umenyiora, New York Giants; 2006 – RB Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers; 2007 – QB Derek Anderson, Cleveland Browns; 2008 – RB DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers; 2009 – WR Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys; 2010 – RB Arian Foster, Houston Texans; 2011 – WR Victor Cruz, New York Giants; 2012 – WR Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys; 2013 – WR Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears; 2014 – RB Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2015 – (tie) QB Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins and CB Josh Norman, Carolina Panthers; 2016 – LB Vic Beasley, Atlanta Falcons; 2017 – QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams; 2018 – TE George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers.
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