These 5 players must become 49ers' next batch of superstars

San Francisco 49ers defensive backs Deommodore Lenoir (38) and Tashaun Gipson (31)
San Francisco 49ers defensive backs Deommodore Lenoir (38) and Tashaun Gipson (31) / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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San Francisco 49ers, Colton McKivitz
San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Colton McKivitz / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

No. 3: 49ers right tackle Colton McKivitz

in addition to drafting well late, San Francisco has also developed something of a positive habit of developing reserve players and backups into excellent starters. A few examples would include center Jake Brendel, who took over for Pro Bowler Alex Mack in 2022, and left guard Aaron Banks, who went from a 2021 second-round draftee who hardly played into starting after the 49ers bade farewell to Pro Bowler Laken Tomlinson a year later.

Talanoa Hufanga is a great example on defense, and one could argue Deommodore Lenoir is on that trajectory, too.

Now, getting back to the offensive line, the Niners lost Mike McGlinchey to free agency this offseason but didn't seem to mind it much, thanks to their belief that another former reserve, Colton McKivitz, could turn into a top-end starter.

McKivitz had to influence San Francisco's front office enough to the point that McGlinchey didn't need to be a re-sign priority.

So, if the 49ers are banking on McKivitz to become the next hidden-gem offensive lineman, him doing so would only reinforce that notion of promoting successfully from within.