Rookie Aaron Banks to enter starting RG competition

·2 min read

Perhaps the 49ers’ biggest position battle has gone almost entirely unnoticed through the first portion of training camp. San Francisco is still in search of a starting right guard. Pads coming on finally gave the club a chance to begin assessing their options at that spot, and the race began to take shape Wednesday.

Offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel spoke with reporters after practice and talked about the interior of the offensive line. Rookie second-round pick Aaron Banks has yet to run with the starting group, but McDaniel indicated his time is coming after second-year OL Colton McKivitz got some first-team reps Wednesday.

“We’ve been playing Tom Compton. We’ve been playing Dan Brunskill. We’ve been playing a lot of guys in there,” McDaniel said. “At some point we’ll put Banks in there and they’ll all compete so that they have equal opportunity to earn that job.”

Brunskill was the frontrunner for the job until San Francisco selected Banks No. 48 overall out of Notre Dame. So why did it take so long to get Banks into the rotation?

McDaniel said there was some refinement required in his transition to the 49ers’ scheme.

“He’s doing a good job really attacking the technique that we ask our linemen to do,” McDaniel said. “A lot of the stuff that we ask them to do is a little different than they’re used to. So he’s attacking it. But with that, you’ll jump off side sometimes. You’ll be a little sloppy in your technique because you’re not used to. He can’t turn his brain off right now before he goes and plays. So that’s something that we’re not really concerned about at all. It’s a natural progression that all players really go through.”

While Lance headlines the 49ers’ draft class and his success will ultimate define the entire draft for San Francisco, they need Banks to be good as well. If they used a second-round pick on a player that can’t win the starting RG job while their depth in the secondary remains questionable, it’d be a pretty damaging draft hiccup for the front office.

How Banks acclimates will be key in shoring up the interior of the 49ers’ offensive line, so while the quarterbacks are front and center, keep a close eye on Banks’ progress because he’ll play an important role for San Francisco regardless of who’s calling signals.