Skip to main content

Three Players who can Help Round out the 49ers into Elite Form

There are a few players on the 49ers that are question marks who, if they become solid contributors, can help round out the team.

Making a run at a Super Bowl is the goal for the 49ers.

The development of Trey Lance will play a major role in that goal, but the 49ers have demonstrated they can be good even with average quarterback play. However, a couple of areas on the team right now are concerning and could hinder their ability to overcome errant performances. Those same areas can help the 49ers ascend should they quell those concerns and prove to be key contributors. 

Here are three players that can round out the 49ers into elite form.

Jake Brendel

Center is a pivotal position for the 49ers. The offensive line would falter anytime they didn’t have someone sufficient at the position. Just look at how 2020 went. Hroniss Grasu was terrible and Daniel Brunskill didn’t fair any better. Even Ben Garland in 2019 ended up dropping off over time after stepping in well initially. Brendel faces lots of pressure to be sufficient and beyond. In fact, you could argue he needs to find his stride to the point where he’s adequate. 

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Filling in for the retired Alex Mack is not going to be an easy task for Brendel nor the 49ers to operate offensively. They’ve been able to overcome average or sloppy performances along the offensive line before, but struggle greatly when it comes to center. This is where Brendel can help tie a loose end for the 49ers. Should he be sufficient or more than that, a player who can hold his own and take command, then the 49ers will see a strong solidification for their entire offense. It will put them on a new level into elite territory depending on how proficient he is.

Aaron Banks

Speaking of offensive linemen, Aaron Banks is another player who can bring the 49ers up a notch. It would be one thing for Brendel to become a fine player, but if Banks joins him, then the 49ers can start to see their whole offensive line as an elite unit. Having Banks as a solid player will only benefit Trey Lance as a passer. Suddenly, the playbook can be wide open. Not to mention that running the ball should see efficiency as well. 

Just imagine if Banks turns out to be a mauler as a run blocker. Kyle Shanahan could line George Kittle on the left side next to Trent Williams to make the 49ers’ run game completely overpowering. It just wouldn’t be fair at that point. Banks has the better chance than Brendel to be good since he is going back to his natural position and could have a chip on his shoulder from his porous rookie season.

Talanoa Hufanga

For the first time since Shanahan took over as head coach, the 49ers will not see Jaquiski Tartt as the starting strong safety. Talanoa Hufanga takes over and is definitely a concern there like Banks and Brendel going into their presumed starting roles. Hufanga in his limited action last year was a roller coaster. He would do some good and some bad. Learning by playing is needed for his development and it’ll most likely be rough early on. However, should he end up finding his footing, then the 49ers’ defense will be superb. 

The 49ers on defense have been able to overcome average cornerback play, but end up getting stung whenever they don’t have Jimmie Ward or Tartt out there. Hufanga proved that last season, especially against the Vikings. Offenses will definitely look to attack him, but should he nip that in the bud, then offenses will struggle to find where to attack. How he can do that is be more disciplined in coverage and make up for his lack of speed by being stronger with his play-recognition. If he can do that, then the defense will be invincible as Hufanga is currently the weakest link defensive starter.