49ers roster: 4 players who must dramatically improve in 2022 to avoid going bust

Trey Sermon #28 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Trey Sermon #28 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Aaron Banks, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers offensive guard Aaron Banks (65) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2: 49ers Offensive Guard Aaron Banks

Few other players from the 49ers’ 2021 draft class are edging on the “bust” moniker closer than the one they drafted in Round 2, former Notre Dame offensive guard Aaron Banks.

Usually, Notre Dame churns out quality offensive lineman, and the immediate hope was Banks would at least compete with Daniel Brunskill for the starting right guard spot this season. Except Banks struggled in training camp, suffered an injury early in the preseason and was almost entirely relegated to the inactive list for the first half of the year, only brought in as a backup and seeing all but five of his 49 regular-season game snaps take place on special teams.

The Niners face challenges within the interior of their offensive line this offseason, particularly with Brunskill being a restricted free agent and left guard Laken Tomlinson potentially leaving in free agency.

Read More: 49ers can’t afford to let Laken Tomlinson hit free agency

Had Banks developed nicely, he’d take over for Brunskill at the very least, relegating the latter to a prime backup position, while San Francisco could re-sign Tomlinson. At the very best, Banks could have been Tomlinson’s replacement.

Considering Banks hasn’t taken that leap, re-signing both Tomlinson and Brunskill becomes a top priority.

Again, second-round picks may not be expected to become Pro Bowl-caliber players in year one. But they are expected to contribute moderately.

Banks hasn’t yet at all.