Colton McKivitz was a fifth-round pick out of West Virginia in the 2020 NFL Draft. After logging more than 300 offensive snaps in his rookie season, he saw limited time on the field, and with the offense, in the two seasons that followed.
Heading into training camp ahead of the 2023 season, McKivitz was the projected starting right tackle for the NFC runner-up San Francisco 49ers. McKivitz earned a two-year contract extension in the offseason.
On Monday, just six days ahead of San Francisco’s preseason opener on Aug. 13 against the Las Vegas Raiders, former NFL quarterback Chris Simms called the right tackle spot a question mark for the 49ers.
“You got a guy in Colton McKivitz, who’s, you know, penciled in to be the starter,” said Simms on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned Podcast. “I want to see what he looks like in action here.”
McKivitz logged just 68 offensive snaps all of last season. Nearly half of that total came in his lone start of the year against the LA Rams in Week 4. He played 11 offensive snaps in two other games, but lined up seven or fewer times in the other four games he appeared on offense in.
In all, the Jacobsburg, Ohio native appeared in 16 of San Fran’s 20 games last season. Of the 144 total snaps he logged, 76 came on special teams.
McKivitz has started five games in his NFL career. Three of those starts came when he was a rookie. Though, for the first time in his pro career, he entered the preseason as the presumptive Week 1 starter at his position.
“He’s done a great job for us through the years he’s been here. He’s always had to fill in in short, short spells and has done a good job for us,” 49ers offensive line coach Chris Foerster said earlier this offseason. “I think that knowing the job is his coming into it, and it’s his job to lose kind of — all of the B guys are there to compete if it doesn’t work out —, I think is also going to help build his confidence.”
Foerster called McKivitz a good run blocker, and a consistent player. He also said it will benefit the fourth-year lineman’s comfort level knowing that he is no longer a short-term fix on the offensive line.
“He’ll have a lot to go through this season, but we have a lot of confidence in the guy,” added Foerster.