Aaron Banks took reps at left guard on Day 2 of OTAs.
It is to be expected as that was his natural position in college. With Laken Tomlinson now in New York, it gives Banks a prime opportunity to earn a starting role. Last year it was rough sledding for Banks. He was forced to play out of position at right guard and was plagued by injuries.
With it being a new season now, the 49ers are hoping Banks can turn the corner. In fact, there is something specific that Kyle Shanahan wants to see out of Banks during the nine days of OTAs.
“Hopefully he can stay healthy through this and get work in nine days," said Shanahan. "With us not going against each other as much right now, it's so important on the drills they set up to go against each other because we're trying to simulate football the best we can. Hopefully we'll be able to do that a little bit more as we get going, but just to be able to have no setbacks, go through it healthy and when he leaves here to be in a great position to come back in 40 days and try to get a starting job.”
The 49ers want to be careful with Banks. It isn't just because he had an injury last year. Remember, the 49ers lost Justin Skule and Tarvarius Moore around this time last year in OTAs. It became a wonder if the 49ers were going too hard in practice. Either way, the 49ers have to be careful with Banks.
Putting too much on his plate can overload him, while putting so little will not help. They have to find the workload that is just right. OTAs right now and then heading into mandatory minicamp is basically going to be a setup for Banks and the rest of players heading into training camp. They use these practices as a template or a primer I should say to get these players understanding where they need to be in the coming months.
For Banks, the 49ers need him to start. He was taken in the second-round of the 2021 draft, so he has some hefty expectations on his shoulders. Anything less than becoming a sufficient starter will look like a failure. And this is why Shanahan cites that he wants Banks healthy. He is most likely already the starter in his mind, so of course he will want his starters okay while also benefiting from the practices.
The opportunity is there for Banks. He just needs to go out and grab it along with some good fortune with his health.