5 burning questions 49ers face entering 2022 season

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Aaron Banks, San Francisco 49ers
Aaron Banks #65 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

49ers burning question No. 3: Can Aaron Banks cut it at left guard?

The Niners have plenty of questions surrounding their offensive line entering 2022, including wondering whether or not Pro Bowl center Alex Mack will actually retire.

But with each passing day that Mack remains not retired, the signs of him returning get better.

The bigger glaring question, however, is at left guard where San Francisco watched Pro Bowler Laken Tomlinson depart in free agency to join the New York Jets on a lucrative $40 million deal over three years.

It appeared as if the 49ers were preparing for this kind of outcome, spending a second-round pick in 2021 on Notre Dame left guard Aaron Banks.

Yet Banks failed to impress his rookie season when given the chance to compete for a starting right guard spot, ultimately losing that competition and seeing a mere five regular-season snaps over the entirety of the year.

The hope will be for Banks to feel much more comfortable at his natural spot on the left side of the O-line, and a full year’s development can only do good in this regard.

It’ll be a tough void to fill, however, and the last thing the Niners need is to have Banks completely flame out in year two after he was originally tabbed as a long-term replacement for Tomlinson.