Last year, the San Francisco 49ers rookie to surprise was Dre Greenlaw. What seemed like a longshot at the time turned out to be quite the prediction. Bleacher Report is back this year to predict each team’s surprise rookie gem, and it’s another Day 3 pick for the 49ers, Colton McKivitz:
Offensive line depth is absolutely vital to team success. Last season, the San Francisco 49ers had to lean on backups Ben Garland, Justin Skule, and Daniel Brunskill due to injuries.
All three return, but the 49ers’ front looks a little different now. Joe Staley retired. Enter Trent Williams. Mike Person is no longer with the team, either.
However, Williams hasn’t started a full 16-game slate since 2013. Right tackle Mike McGlinchey missed four games last season due to a knee injury. Center Weston Richburg is still recovering from a torn patellar tendon.
Fifth-round pick Colton McKivitz offers versatility as depth at multiple positions. He started at both tackle spots during his collegiate career and played some guard at the Senior Bowl.
If McKivitz only played during garbage time in 2020, you’d have to think the coaching staff would be happy. Greenlaw had a trait—speed—that translated well to the 49ers defense. McKivitz didn’t show that he was overly athletic or strong in college, but his versatility could be what helps the fifth-round pick see the field.
That’s if injuries happen, of course. Each starter last year along the offensive line missed time last season besides Laken Tomlinson. McKivitz can play any position besides center. McKivitz will compete to start at right guard, but he can win the swing tackle job as well. The backup tackle job is an underrated position battle on the Niners. Trent Williams is coming off an injury, and McGlinchey missed four games last year.
McKivitz is more of a long shot after the signing of Tom Compton, but that doesn’t mean he can’t carve out a role for himself, even if it’s a backup role.