Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch discuss 49ers Day 2 draft picks

Apr 30, 2021 at 9:53 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers came away with three new players on Day 2 of the NFL Draft, one in Round 2 selection Aaron Banks and two in Round 3 selections Trey Sermon and Ambry Thomas. After Day 2 came to a conclusion, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch spoke about what they saw in each of those players.

Here's a recap of what Shanahan and Lynch said about Banks, Sermon, and Thomas, and where they fit in down the line.

* OL Aaron Banks, Notre Dame (Round 2, pick 48)

The 49ers added Banks after trading down five spots to acquire an extra fourth-round pick. Banks is a big player (6-6, 330) who played a lot of guard in college and projects as a guard for the 49ers, at least early on in his career. Some may question whether or not Banks' size is an issue in the zone blocking scheme the 49ers like to run, but Shanahan says it's not an issue.

"You've got to have certain guys to run a certain type of scheme that can move well, but you don't want them small," Shanahan said. "You just want guys who can move well. So you've got to be able to move a certain way to kind of as I say be in the club for us to want you. But once you can move a certain way, we want the biggest guy possible. Usually it's hard to get those guys because they go pretty early and we just haven't been in a situation where we can take a guy like that."

It wasn't just Banks' size and movement ability that caused the 49ers to become sold on him.

"The size and everything was much more of a bonus," Shanahan said. "It's not just the size but the way he plays. That's what I like the most -- his physicality, his demeanor, his mindset with how he carries himself. I felt very fortunate to get him and I'm pumped he's a Niner."

Lynch said the 49ers would have taken Banks had they stayed put at 43. It also may have helped that Banks' former teammate, 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey, was a big fan.

"I think obviously you always want a guy that's big, that can move and is a scheme fit," Lynch said. "I think in this case I believe we found a candidate for that. We really grew to appreciate Aaron throughout the process. His film was very good at Notre Dame. The Senior Bowl was a positive look in person for us -- continued to grow there. And then Mike McGlinchey's incessant cheering for him. He is a bigger guy, but he moves exceptionally well, so we think he's a really nice fit."

* RB Trey Sermon, Ohio State (Round 3, pick 88)

The 49ers traded up to add Sermon, shipping away a fourth-round pick as well as the extra fourth-round pick in the Banks trade. They really like what they see in Sermon, but they also felt the necessity to add another quality player to the running back room after what they've gone through at that position over the past four seasons.

"I look at it as you're just trying to find NFL backs that you always feel have the ability to be a starter," Shanahan said. "We've never looked for a one back, a two back, a three back, a four back. We always look for guys that we think can play as a starter, whether they are or not. If you look at our third back, the last two years they've had about 38 percent or something of our carries, sometimes because of injury, sometimes of rotations and how it worked out. I think that's been by far over anyone else in the NFL. We have two guys that have played for us that have done really well. We're bringing in another guy that we're looking to help us too. And we have some young guys who haven't really done it yet, but we'll see.

"To be able to add Trey to this group with his skillset and what we think he can do, you just add him to the mix and see how it unfolds. But we've got some good guys we believe in, but we also feel like we've gone through about four backs four years in a row here, really every year but our first year. So that's something with losing two guys in free agency, adding one, that's something we felt we needed to address at some point in this draft."

Sermon doesn't have the blazing 40 time that 49ers running backs tend to have. But Lynch says that's a book that shouldn't be judged by its cover.

"You may look at his 40 time and say he doesn't really fit, but sometimes 40 times can be deceiving," Lynch said. "I think what speaks to us is his 10-time was very good. You see that burst. You see that ability to stick his foot in the ground, break tackles and hit it in a hurry. Then he's very adept at making the free safety, the second-level defender miss. I think he's really good out of the backfield in the pass game as well. I think he's a good fit for what we do."

* CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan (Round 3, pick 102)

The 49ers added Thomas with the compensatory pick they received when defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was hired to be the head coach of the New York Jets. Lynch said Thomas was "championed" by assistant general manager Adam Peters, and that Thomas was praised by former Michigan defensive backs coach Mike Zordich, who Lynch knew from their playing days in the NFL.

"He thought the world of him," Lynch said of Zordich.

Lynch went on to describe what the 49ers liked about Thomas the most.

"He's a guy who ran in the high 4.3's. I think his greatest asset -- his poise at the moment of truth," Lynch said. "When that ball's in the air, he has an ability to locate it which is not as easy to find as you might think for DBs. As they say, there's a reason they're playing defense. Ambry has a good skill for being very poised for when the ball's in the air. We think he can be a good fit with us and we were really fired up to be able to get him."

Thomas elected to opt out of the 2020 season, but that didn't stop the 49ers from taking interest.

"I'm a father of a kid who played on a college football team this year," Lynch said. "The plans were so far up in the air. I don't blame any of these kids for having opted out for going through what we did."

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