The San Francisco 49ers traded up into the 5th round of the NFL Draft to grab offensive lineman Colton Mckivitz. Mckivitz is a great fit to add depth to one of the NFL’s best units.
This has been one of the most interesting NFL Drafts in years, both in general due to its virtual format, and for the San Francisco 49ers in particular.
The Niners were active on day one, but then yesterday for Rounds 2 and 3 of the draft, they put things on hold.
But Saturday, the Niners jumped into action again. First, they traded for Washington Redskins Pro Bowl offensive tackle Trent Williams to replace now-retiring left tackle Joe Staley. Then the Niners traded away running back Matt Breida to the Miami Dolphins for a fifth-round pick, which they then used on West Virginia offensive lineman Colton McKivitz.
It’s tough to see Breida go, but the 49ers had a backlog at the running back position, so it makes sense to trade him away and stock up in the trenches.
McKivitz is a versatile and intriguing offensive line project. While he played both left and right tackle in college, many see him as an offensive guard in the NFL. McKivitz is not the ideal size for a tackle, and he lacks the athleticism that defines elite prospects at the position. However, he has great timing and a tough, competitive mentality, which is something the 49ers love under the Kyle Shanahan-John Lynch regime.
Additionally, McKivitz started for four years in college, giving him a level of experience that should prepare him well for the NFL. Most seem to view him as someone who can step into a backup role for an offensive line, and potentially develop into a starter.
That makes him the perfect fit for San Francisco. If we learned one thing from last season and the 49ers drafting South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw in Round 1 of the draft, it’s this team wants depth on both the offensive and defensive lines.
McKivitz is the perfect player to add to that depth.
Last season, the Niners struggled with injuries on the offensive line, and backup linemen Justin Skule, Daniel Brunskill and Ben Garland all stepped up in a big way. The Niners recently moved on from guard Mike Person, and while they signed guard Tom Compton, it makes sense to continue to stock up on more linemen, given the unit’s importance to Shanahan’s run-heavy game plan.
Since the 49ers traded up to grab McKivitz, they clearly see something special in him. My guess is they see him as someone who can develop and become a starter at offensive guard in the near future. I doubt they see him as a tackle, especially after the Williams trade and since Skule and Brunskill both filled in so admirably at tackle last year.
However, they could also see McKivitz as simply a versatile linemen to have in place in case of injury, or a future swing tackle.
Either way, McKivitz adds depth to what was one of the NFL’s better units last season and is clearly a crucial part of San Francisco’s winning strategy. He will bring experience and potential, and the Niners will have no reason to rush his development with the talented unit they already have.
McKivitz will be a great backup lineman this year and has tons of potential to develop into a longtime starter.