Seahawks Nearly Took George Kittle in the 2017 NFL Draft

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It’s the eve of the NFL Draft , but Seahawks fans will likely have to wait an extra day before receiving any relevant news. Without a first-round pick , all 12s can do is reminisce about the ghosts of drafts past. One of those ghosts reared its ugly head Wednesday, with the revelation that the Seahawks were extremely close to drafting 49ers star tight end George Kittle in 2017.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Corbin Smith , the Seahawks had a deal in place with Jacksonville to move up to the 148th pick to take Kittle, but it fell apart when San Francisco selected him just two picks ahead at 146. He’s been terrorizing NFC West secondaries ever since, while Seattle has attempted to cobble together production out of a rotating cast of aging veterans and roster longshots. One can’t help but wonder how things would’ve turned out if they’d moved up just a few spots higher…

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Credit: Chris Victorio/S.F. Examine

George Kittle in a Seahawks Uniform? What Might Have Been

Kittle is unquestionably one of the league’s best tight ends, but how does his production stack up against that of another team’s entire position group? He hasn’t found paydirt nearly as often, but his other stats compare pretty favorably:

Rec Yds TDs
George Kittle’s career stats (53 games) 264 3579 14
All Seahawks TEs combined 2017-20 (64 games) 286 2827 36
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Kittle has single-handedly outgained the entirety of the Seahawks’ tight end corps by over 750 yards, despite missing eleven games. That’s almost half a mile of real estate. Nine different players contributed to that Seahawks total, only one of whom topped 350 yards in a single season. Kittle has easily cleared that mark every year, including last season when he only appeared in eight games.

Sure, Kittle may not have reached the same heights in Seattle, considering how many other mouths they have to feed . Looking at that touchdown disparity, however, there’s reason to believe he could’ve been even more successful from a scoring standpoint. The last time the Seahawks had a tight end of Kittle’s caliber was in 2017, Jimmy Graham led all NFL pass-catchers with 29 red zone targets and trailed only Jarvis Landry with 10 touchdowns. Despite lacking an elite option since then, Seahawks tight ends have found the end zone 21 times on 57 red zone targets, compared to just 16 touchdowns on 63 targets for San Francisco.

This news stings just a little bit more because of the relative weakness of Seattle’s 2017 NFL Draft class. Of the seven players the Seahawks took ahead of Kittle, only one (Ethan Pocic) remains on the roster. Five are currently without a contract, including top selection Malik McDowell who never played a single snap for the team. In fairness, however, all the other teams also had multiple chances to draft Kittle and decided to pass him up. Seattle would also find an arguably better value in the seventh round when they took Chris Carson. Still, it’s much nicer to dream about Russell Wilson throwing to a Lockett-Metcalf-Kittle trio than to watch him suit up for a hated division rival for years to come.

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