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George Kittle confirms story of Seahawks narrowly missing out on drafting him

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Back in 2018, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reported that John Schneider said the Seahawks were interested in drafting All-Pro Tight End George Kittle and just barely missed out. Apparently, things got a bit more intense on draft day than originally known. According to Matt Verderame of Fansided, the Seahawks were working a deal to trade up for Kittle just as he was being selected by San Francisco.

While the specifics of the trade and details of the other team(s) involved remain a mystery, Kittle elaborated on the events as they unfolded in an interview with Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports, saying:

“Really the only thing that was quirky for me was my agent called me ... it was probably like a minute before the Niners called me,” Kittle said to FanSided’s Matt Verderame on the “Stacking the Box” podcast. ”My agent says, ‘Hey, the Seahawks called me, they said they’re trading up to get you.’

“And then literally I’m on the phone with him, my agent, he’s on my dad’s phone, and then I get a call from the Bay Area ... and the next thing I know I’m talking to John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan saying that they’re drafting me and they’re excited to work with me.”

As Seahawks fans, this one may sting a little bit. George Kittle is a two-time Pro Bowler who has garnered both second and first team All-Pro nods in 2018 and 2019, respectively. He has played in 53 of a possible 64 games in his four year career thus far, starting 45 of those contests. He posted back to back thousand yard seasons in ‘18 and ‘19 before injuries derailed his 2020 campaign and limited him to eight games. Still, he put up 634 yards and a pair of touchdowns last year while catching passes from Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens, and CJ Beathard. In his career against Seattle, Kittle has caught 28 of 41 passes thrown his way for 341 yards and zero touchdowns.

Further adding insult to injury, Seattle’s three preceding three selections — Nazair Jones, Amara Darboh, and Tedric Thompson — have combined for 18 starts (16 of those belonging to TT), and none remain with the team today. Of course, things always look much clearer in hindsight, as Kittle was passed over 145 times before being selected with the second pick of the 5th round, one spot after Denver selected Jake Butt. In fact, he ended up being the ninth player at his position selected that season in a class that also featured Jonnu Smith, OJ Howard, Evan Engram, David Njoku, and current-Seahawk Gerald Everett, among others. However, to ease the pain a bit, just know that the Seahawks are the only one of the 49ers’ divisional rivals to not allow a touchdown to the talented tight end in his NFL career thus far. Let’s hope they can keep this trend up in 2021.