While there are some understandable concerns at right tackle, the 49ers appear perfectly content with Colton McKivitz in that spot.
Whether or not you were a fan of former San Francisco 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey, you might be asking yourself if the Niners are actually better off without him.
Much of that would hinge on just how much faith you have in the presumed starting right tackle heading into 2023, Colton McKivitz, who will look to pick up where McGlinchey left off when he signed a massive free-agent deal with the Denver Broncos during the offseason.
San Francisco has a recent history of promoting from within, particuarly the offensive line. In previous years, reserve linemen like Aaron Banks and Jake Brendel have gone from seldom-discussed backups into full-time starters. Effective ones, too.
McKivitz, meanwhile, enters year four of his career after being drafted in Round 5 way back in 2020. The team also gave him an extension during the offseason, too, which is a vote of confidence.
And if you're worried the 49ers are prematurely crowning him the right tackle spot entering 2023, you're probably not alone.
It's just the Niners don't appear to agree with your concern.
49ers seem perfectly confident in Colton McKivitz at right tackle
Speaking from organized team activities this week, San Francisco's offensive line coach Chris Foerster spoke about McKivitz and why the former backup lineman is essentially being handed the starting right tackle job.
“I think that knowing the job is his coming into it and it’s his job to lose kind of, although there will be guys that are there to compete if it doesn’t work out,” Foerster said of McKivitz. “I think it is also going to help build his confidence. He is good for the position.”
And while Foerster acknowledged that McKivitz might be a downgrade from McGlinchey in some regard, he's nevertheless confident it won't be too steep a fall.
“Mike McGlinchey is one of the best run-blocking tackles in the NFL,” Foerster added. “Colton probably won't be quite that, but he is a very good run-blocker and his protection is really solid and consistent.”
The veteran O-line coach also added that he's viewing second-year right guard Spencer Burford in the same light, and expressed to both Burford and McKivitz that the starting job was theirs to lose.
The 49ers did relatively little to reinforce their offensive line this offseason, adding two veterans in Matt Pryor and Jon Feliciano, who are both likely backup candidates at best. And the Niners didn't use one of their picks in the 2023 draft on a lineman either.
Nevertheless, there will remain some concern about McKivitz heading into 2023 much like there was about Brendel last year when he suddenly became a starter.
Perhaps a year from now, fans will talk confidently about McKivitz instead of worrying about him.