We are inching closer to the unofficial start of football season with the San Francisco 49ers veteran training camp report day just a little over a week away. As players and coaches prepare to get the ball rolling on the 2023 campaign, it's exciting to think about all that could be in store for the red and gold this year. With plenty of new faces on the roster, developing young talent and substantial veteran carryover from last season, there is sure to be competitive position battles and plenty of highlight-reel worthy plays being drawn up and executed during camp.
One player that will be stepping into limelight come training camp is offensive tackle Colton McKivitz. The fourth-year pro has been tabbed as the 49ers new starting right tackle following the departure of Mike McGlinchey in free agency, and subsequently was named to Pro Football Focus' 2023 All-Breakout Team. PFF created a starting lineup of players on both offense and defense poised to have a breakout year in 2023. The groupings are based on 11 personnel on offense, and for defense, the lineup reflects a nickel defense.
McKivitz signed a two-year extension in March that will keep him in The Bay through the 2024 season. The lineman saw action in 16 games (including playoffs) with the 49ers last season, serving as a backup swing tackle. McKivitz finished the 2022 season with a clean record, receiving zero penalties and not allowing a single hit or sack. Over the course of the offseason, he received high praise from teammates and coaches regarding his readiness to take over the starting right tackle job.
"It's well deserved. It's been a long time coming," All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams said during veteran minicamp. "I remember having conversations with him when he didn't make the roster... (It's great) just to see him continue to grind, not to be discouraged and continue to let his talents show and play with confidence. He earned it. He got that spot for a reason, and I'm proud of him."
Offensive line coach and run game coordinator Chris Foerster echoed those sentiments.
"Colton has done a great job for us through the years he's been here," Forester commented. "He's had to fill in in short spells and has done a good job for us. I think knowing the job is his coming into it, and it's his job to lose... is going to help build his confidence. He's good for the position."
Here's what PFF staff writer Jim Wyman had to say about McKivitz:
"After Mike McGlinchey left to join the Denver Broncos in free agency, the 49ers had a hole to fill at right tackle," Wyman wrote. "Yet, with their nine draft picks, not one was used on an offensive lineman, let alone a tackle. This leaves the door open for a competition for the starting right tackle job between Matt Pryor, who spent the last two seasons in Indianapolis, and 2020 fifth-rounder McKivitz.
"McKivitz only really got significant playing time in Week 4 of the 2022 season, but he played pretty well against a difficult pass rush, putting up an 87.3 pass-blocking grade while surrendering zero pressures. Don't be too surprised if you see McKivitz take the majority of the snaps at right tackle for the 49ers this season."