In the fifth round of this spring’s draft, the 49ers selected a versatile offensive lineman from West Virginia who isn’t expected to start in 2020.
The most likely scenario is that Colton McKivitz – a 6-foot-6, 301-pounder – will make the roster, provide some depth and be an insurance policy in case a starting tackle or guard goes down with a serious injury.
But McKivitz has potential far beyond what he’s expected to do as a rookie.
The third-team All-America this past season, who started all four years at tackle for the Mountaineers, has some smarts (all-academic conference selection as a redshirt freshman), athleticism (he was all-state in Ohio in football and basketball) and grit.
This week, Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report selected McKivitz as the 49ers’ surprise rookie gem from this draft. Sobleski pointed to this past season, when newcomers Justin Skule, Daniel Brunskill and Ben Garland all made significant contributions on the offensive line because of injuries to starters, as evidence that McKivitz could prove his worth sooner rather than later.
“(McKivitz) offers versatility as depth at multiple positions,” wrote Sobleski. “He started at both tackles during his collegiate career and played some guard at the Senior Bowl.”
Apparently, too, McKivitz comes with an attitude that appeals to the 49ers coaching staff. As Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote about McKivitz before the draft, he’s a “bonafide dirt dog with a chippy demeanor.”
Niners general manager John Lynch said he and head coach Kyle Shanahan were very much interested in drafting McKvitz and love his potential.
“The cool thing about McKivitz, we feel like he’s got some ability to play tackle but also has some ability to slide down and play some guard,” Lynch told Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee. “He’s a guy, during the (evaluation) process, the more we watched, the more you like.”