The 49ers selecting an offensive tackle during this week’s NFL Draft feels inevitable for most fans. And why not? Mike McGlinchey is no longer on the roster after being a mainstay since 2018.
We’ve seen Colton McKivitz in action, and when he was during his first two seasons, you wouldn’t confuse the fifth-rounder from 2020 with Trent Williams. But McKivitz has the confidence from the front office, as NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco recently pointed out:
The 49ers reaffirmed their commitment to McKivitz, 26, this offseason, signing him to a two-year, $4.56 million extension through the 2024 season.
So in a draft that is not considered strong at offensive tackle, the 49ers might not place a huge priority on adding a rookie offense lineman — just to add a rookie offensive lineman.
“Colton is the guy right now,” Lynch said on the day the 49ers signed Pryor, who started nine games last season with the Indianapolis Colts. “We like Colton. We have for a long time.”
McKivitz was last year’s insurance. This year, it appears to be Matt Pryor, who saw extensive action at tackle last season. Pryor started four games on the left side and two on the right, while also registering three starts at right guard for the Colts a season ago.
Realistically, a pick at the end of the third round isn’t coming in and beating out McKivitz or Pryor, so it’s not too surprising that the Niners wouldn’t invest on of their third round picks on an offensive tackle who could find himself on the outside looking in.
San Francisco may be well served to go the McKivitz and Jaylon Moore route once again. By that, I mean keep taking swings on offensive linemen in the fifth round in hopes that one eventually pans out.
The top offensive tackles are long gone. The Niners should be able to get more bang for their buck by addressing another position of need, such as an edge rusher or defensive back late in the third round. Both positions would have a better chance of seeing the field sooner given the current talent on the roster.
The Niners were above average in seemingly every offensive line metric after last season. Four of the starters return. We’ve seen the 49ers start unknowns at both tackle spots before and have little trouble scoring points.
Finally, on McKivitz, it’s evident that he’s shown enough in practice during the past few seasons to warrant this type of confidence in him. McKivitz, in limited action last year, didn’t commit the same mental mistakes he did during his first two seasons. Can he keep up that consistency for an entire season? We’ll find out soon enough.