Aaron Banks was a second round pick out of Notre Dame by the San Francisco 49ers. He has a lot of potential to be a key piece of the offensive line.

In fact, CBS Sports’ Emory Hunt thinks Banks could be a key member of the unit right away. Banks was a starter for the Fighting Irish over his last two seasons at Notre Dame and started at the tail end of the 2018 season.

Speaking on the Ross Tucker Podcast, Hunt explained why Banks can be dominant and why he could start right away as a rookie.

“He was my number one guard man,” Hunt said. “Dominant on both ends of offense. When you talk about running the football, run behind Aaron Banks. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him start right away at right guard for San Francisco. And you look at what he does in pass (protection). He knows how to play the hand fighting game so he’s always going to be in a good position there to not get swam over or bull rushed. You’re never going to move him. He’s a plug and play guy.”

As a junior in 2019, Banks started all 13 games and earned the second-highest pass-block grade on the offensive line according to Pro Football Focus. He helped the Irish rank 13th nationally in scoring offense. He only gave up two sacks on 844 total snaps.

As a senior in 2020, he once again started every game for one of the nation’s premier offensive line units. He was a First-Team All-American per the AFCA, Associated Press, ESPN and the ACC. He was a Second-Team All-American according to Walter Camp and Sporting News. He participated in the Senior Bowl, was on the Outland Trophy Watch List, and the entire group of linemen was named a Joe Moore Award finalist.

Banks was drafted with the No. 48 overall pick (second round) by the San Francisco 49ers back in April.

As a member of the Class of 2017, Banks was a four-star prospect according to the 247Sports composite. He was the No. 20 overall prospect in the state of California, the No. 17 offensive tackle prospect in the class and the No. 166 overall prospect in the class.

If Banks starts, he’ll likely protect Jimmy Garoppolo unless rookie quarterback Trey Lance overtakes the starting spot. The 49ers appear to be an NFC contender if their quarterback play holds up due to a strong defense as well.

They went to the Super Bowl in 2019 with Garoppolo under center and with Kyle Shanahan’s offense, the team could very well do it again.

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