49ers roster: 5 players who must make massive leap in 2022

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 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 /

49ers roster player No. 4: Offensive guard Aaron Banks

Arguably under even more scrutiny than Trey Sermon, the 49ers’ second-round pick from the 2021 draft, offensive guard Aaron Banks, is probably viewed as being closer to the “bust” moniker than anyone else selected in last year’s class.

Second-round picks are typically expected to at least contribute right away, and Banks failed to beat out Daniel Brunskill for the starting right guard spot out of training camp, subsequently suffering a shoulder injury early in the preseason and then being relegated to the weekly inactive list for much of the year, appearing on just five offensive snaps over the entirety of 2021.

Giving up on Banks completely is premature, as is the case with Sermon. Yet the Niners still need Banks to hone his game to a level worthy of being a reliable starter.

Especially with the need to upgrade over Brunskill and the very real possibility of left guard Laken Tomlinson leaving this offseason via free agency.

San Francisco doesn’t want to compound the pending shortages it might have along the offensive line this offseason, so having Banks go from a would-be bust into a reliable option within the trenches will be vital for the 49ers’ O-line continuity and improvement in 2022.