Aaron Banks details ‘a lot of growth’ from 49ers rookie season so far – NBC Sports

Aaron Banks details 'a lot of growth' from 49ers rookie season so far - NBC Sports

With the departure of Laken Tomlinson in free agency this offseason, the 49ers now need second-year guard Aaron Banks to fill the void left on the offensive line.

And the 24-year-old appears to be up for the challenge.

Banks spoke to reporters after training camp on Friday and in detail the steps he took since being drafted by San Francisco in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

“I think there was a lot of growth,” Banks said of his rookie season last year, which saw him on the field for just five regular-season snaps. “There was a lot of room to grow, and I just came in every day trying to get better, and that’s still the same mindset.

“It didn’t go the way I thought it would. It didn’t go the way a lot of people probably thought it would.”

The 49ers went with Daniel Brunskill over then-rookie Banks at right guard last season after he failed to win the starting job. Coach Kyle Shanahan previously said the team felt Banks was ready to begin at the midpoint of the 2021 season, but then a winning streak kept Brunskill in the position.

Banks took the perceived disappointment of his rookie season “with a grain of salt” and continued, he said, entering OTAs this spring a new person. He spent the offseason at the 49ers facility and worked on changing his body into one that would fit San Francisco’s zone blocking scheme.

He’s now 13 pounds lighter than he was the day he was drafted, and moving back to left side — where he played at Notre Dame — in Tomlinson’s absence has helped him feel more comfortable entering his second season, he said. .

“I just wanted to be a physically better player,” Banks said of his offseason conditioning. “I wanted to tighten up and be stronger and be fast, try to be faster overall. Just be a better athlete, be stronger.”

The 49ers’ offensive line is more active than most under Shanahan’s scheme, and that athleticism will come in handy as Banks prepares to contribute at the NFL level.

“The more you’re in it, the more comfortable you’ll be with it,” Banks said of the scheme. “I think our room has a ton of athletes, guys who are not only big and can move people but can actually move their own bodies in space.

“The more you’re in it, the better off you’ll be. I think this year will definitely be a better year for that.”

Banks is expected to line up next to left tackle Trent Williams as part of the starting offense, and he noted that the All-Pro has helped him with tips and tricks to become a better player. In early June, Williams said Banks “transformed” his body and applauded his mental fortitude.

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That mindset has continued into training camp, where the guard continues to impress against San Francisco’s top-ranked defense.

And with Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season just over a month away, the 49ers Faithful can rest assured that they’re getting the best version of Banks yet.

“It’s really just getting better every day,” Banks said. “Don’t take these days for granted.”

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