How 49ers utilize Colton McKivitz on offense in 2020

Colton McKivitz #53 of the West Virginia Mountaineers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Colton McKivitz #53 of the West Virginia Mountaineers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

What’s the 49ers’ game plan for one of their 2020 NFL Draft rookies, Colton McKivitz, who’ll reinforce the offensive line?

The San Francisco 49ers were forced to revamp a good chunk of their offensive line heading into 2020, which included some noteworthy transactions during the offseason.

The biggest, of course, was losing one of the franchise’s favorites, left tackle Joe Staley, to retirement and being fortunate enough to trade for former Washington Redskins perennial Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams with two mid-round NFL Draft picks. In addition, the Niners said goodbye to starting right guard Mike Person during the offseason, inking former New York Jets guard Tom Compton as a potential replacement.

Yet one of the less-heralded moves was to add a versatile lineman via the draft, West Virginia’s Colton McKivitz, who figures to compete for key roles right away.

McKivitz, selected by San Francisco in Round 5 and No. 153 overall, primarily played tackle at the collegiate level. And while there’s always the possibility he competes for the primary swing tackle role behind Williams and right tackle Mike McGlinchey, there’s a stronger possibility he winds up serving as an interior lineman, adding to some much-needed depth there.

Much of this hinges on how the 49ers use one of their 2019 unsung heroes, offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill, who saw starting time at both tackle spots and at right guard in the wake of injuries to all three spots. Brunskill could feasibly compete with Compton for the starting right guard position during training camp, which would have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the O-line.

Should Brunskill win that job, the pecking order falls to both Compton and McKivitz, going along with backup center, Ben Garland.

Brunskill could also wind up as the primary backup on the outside, too, putting him in the mix with fellow linemen Shon Coleman and 2019 rookie tackle Justin Skule, although it doesn’t seem likely the Niners keep three backup tackles.

A player like McKivitz, however, could end up as an uber-lineman in year one.

What the 49ers get with Colton McKivitz

McKivitz isn’t flashy, which helps explain why he ended up being a day-three NFL Draft pick. But there are a number of traits which make him likable.

There’s some nastiness to his game, which shows up in the game tape below:

McKivitz seems to handle zone-blocking duties well enough, too, making him a solid fit in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s system. While it might be a bit premature to think the 6-foot-6, 304-pound McKivitz can play on the end right away his rookie year, as he seems to lack the functional strength to hold up solo against bigger pass-rushers, this skill set should transition well enough if he has blockers on either side of him.

For now, the question will be just how much McKivitz offers to the depth San Francisco is looking to get and, more specifically, where he’ll wind up on the depth chart.

Next. Far-too-soon 49ers 2021 mock NFL Draft. dark

The versatility is there, and so is some of the project upside. And hopefully, the Niners landed themselves another gem of a lineman late in the draft.