Kittle makes début on NFL Top 100 list

George Kittle produced one of the best seasons a tight end has ever had in 2018, earning him a spot on the NFL Top 100.



San Francisco 49ers’ George Kittle (85) makes a catch against Jacksonville Jaguars’ Barry Church (42) in the first quarter at Levi’s Stadium Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017 in Santa Clara, California.

Robert Read, Sports Reporter

George Kittle made his name known to the NFL world with a tight-end season for the ages in 2018, and now his peers rank him as one of the best players in the league.

Kittle made his début on the NFL Top 100 list Monday night, coming in at No. 29.

The NFL Top 100 is an annual list featuring the best players in the NFL as voted on by the players. The rankings are based on a poll given to current NFL players, in which the player is asked to vote on which of their peers are among the elite in the game.

Rankings are supposed to take into account the performance a player gave in the most recent NFL season.

Kittle joins the NFL elite on the list after breaking the league’s single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end with 1,377. The San Francisco 49er also somehow led the league in yards after catch from as a tight end, compiling 870 yards after receptions.

Kittle also scored 5 touchdowns for the 49ers, using the same arms raised overhead with the football in hand end zone celebration that once made Kinnick roar.

The list airs on the NFL Network, counting down the best players of 2019 from No. 100 all the way to No. 1.

First broadcast in 2011, the top 100 is now in its ninth year of counting down the league’s top players. It now serves as a who’s who of the NFL, with players taking to social media to comment on their rankings and the rankings of their contemporaries.

Kittle’s ranking is the highest a Hawkeye has been on the list, but Iowa’s history in the rankings goes all the way back to the list’s first edition, when Dallas Clark came in at No. 78.

Clark became the first former Hawkeye to appear on the list after establishing himself as one of the best tight ends in the league.

Iowa continued to be represented in the rankings over the next several editions of the top 100.

Marshal Yanda became a mainstay on the list. The Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman appeared on the NFL Top 100 four-consecutive years from 2014 to 2017, appearing as high as No. 37. Yanda was the second-highest ranked offensive linemen that year, 14 spots below former Browns left tackle Joe Thomas.

Mike Daniels and Micah Hyde have also done their part on bringing the Black and Gold to the top 100 list. Daniels has made two appearances on the list, first in 2017 at No. 84 and again the following year at No. 93.

Hyde appeared on the list in 2018 ranked at No. 62 after a 5-interception season that ended with a Pro Bowl nod.

Kittle is considered to be one of the top players — let alone one of the best tight ends — in the league, according to his ranking on the NFL’s Top 100 list. The former fifth-round draft pick is playing at a level few ever thought he would.

It seems likely more appearances on the list are to come for Kittle, ensuring that — according to the players’ vote — a Hawkeye is among the league’s best.