No. 3: 49ers offensive guard Aaron Banks
Yes, another player from the 2021 NFL Draft class here to watch.
While Trey Sermon received plenty of scrutiny his rookie season, perhaps no other draftee from a year ago was criticized more than second-round offensive guard Aaron Banks, who was given every chance to win the starting right guard spot but ultimately failed in that quest, suffering both a preseason injury and then ultimately playing a mere five regular-season offensive snaps.
In the wake of San Francisco losing Pro Bowl left guard Laken Tomlinson to free agency this offseason, though, Banks appears to be a shoo-in for a replacement. However, that won’t automatically erase the concerns about whether or not he’ll stand out as one of the better 49ers draft picks in recent years who just needed a year to marinate on the bench.
No, Banks will have to prove not only he’s a better player than the frustrating results from his rookie season, but he’ll also have to showcase why he can be a high-quality starter for what’s been a wholly revamped Niners offensive line entering 2022.