Colton McKivitz

Williams raves about McKivitz, who has ‘earned' starting RT job

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Colton McKivitz is getting an opportunity to start for the 49ers and his teammates on the offensive line could not be more thrilled.

The 26-year-old will replace Mike McGlinchey at right tackle after the former first-round draft pick signed with the Denver Broncos in free agency.

In speaking to reporters after the 49ers' training camp practice Thursday, All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams was asked what he likes about McKivitz's game and what he needs to do to have success this season.

"I think he needs to do everything he’s been doing," Williams said of McKivitz. "That’s the reason he’s in this position. It’s because he’s earned that trust from the staff over the last few years. He deserves it. He’s put in the work. Every year he’s been presented with a challenge coming into camp – whether it’s fighting to make the practice squad at first, make the roster last year and then – due to numbers – have to go on the practice squad for a few weeks. Bring him back up, start a few games – he’s been through it all … except for being a Day 1 starter. He’s earned it."

McKivitz was a fifth-round pick by the 49ers in the 2020 NFL Draft and has bounced between the practice squad and the 53-man roster over the years, starting in just five games.

The 49ers expressed confidence in McKivitz after McGlinchey's departure and signed him to a two-year, $4.6 million contract this offseason. Despite the ups and downs McKivitz faced early in his career, Williams is inspired by his linemate's unwavering confidence and dedication to his craft.

"We’re proud of him. He’s a phenomenal player," Williams added. "The confidence that he plays with, in my opinion, allows him to play at a high level. What I learned from him is all about confidence. Unwavering confidence in his ability to block whoever. When you’re playing O-line, your confidence is like a roller-coaster sometimes. One play can define how people look at you for an entire season. So it’s a very peculiar position to be in. You’re skating on thin ice every play. To me, his confidence and his physical stature, his attributes, his ability, his lower-body strength, upper-body strength – it all plays a part to why he’s in the position he’s in right now."

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The 49ers have not been shy about penciling McKivitz in as the starter, and opted not to draft a tackle -- or any offensive lineman -- with their nine selections.

And that speaks volumes to McKivitz, who will look to reward his coaches for their trust and faith in him.

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