49ers training camp: 4 players facing uphill battle in 2021
By Peter Panacy
No. 3: 49ers Offensive Lineman Colton McKivitz
It certainly wasn’t easy being a rookie for any NFL team in 2020, given the pandemic essentially eliminated rookie minicamps and organized team activities, thwarting the needed development for first-year players trying to acclimate accordingly.
It’s also anyone’s guess as to how much this affected the 49ers’ fifth-round pick from a year ago, offensive lineman Colton McKivitz, who still managed to get into 14 games with three starts, seeing 301 total offensive snaps.
Those efforts left a good deal to be desired, yet the Niners still have some long-term questions to figure out with regards to their offensive line depth.
While losing reserve lineman Justin Skule to a season-ending ACL tear helps McKivitz’s roster chances, it’s almost offset by the fact San Francisco will get the veteran swing tackle, Shon Coleman, back from his 2020 opt-out. Combine that with this year’s fifth-round addition of Western Michigan lineman Jaylon Moore, and it’s not hard to see why there’s going to be a relatively crowded battle for reserve pieces along the O-line.
Maybe McKivitz wins out over someone like Coleman, both in terms of youth and being signed on the cheap into 2022, whereas Coleman hasn’t played a regular-season game since 2017 and is a free agent after this season.
That said, McKivitz could also be a victim of the numbers game even if he performs well in training camp.