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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Banks talks 49ers future, Brock Purdy’s progress

Jun 5, 2024 at 1:33 PM

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The San Francisco 49ers hold left guard Aaron Banks in high regard as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. Banks is one of several 49ers players set to become free agents next offseason. While his Pro Football Focus grades (50.2 in pass blocking and 55.8 in run blocking) may not stand out, one statistic does: He didn't allow a single sack last season, according to the analytics site.

Banks likely benefits from playing alongside one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL, left tackle Trent Williams. Most defenses tend to position their strongest pass rushers away from Williams, targeting the more vulnerable right side.

The 49ers will soon need to decide how much they are willing to invest in the 26-year-old guard. Worrying about the future isn't a priority for Banks as he prepares for his fourth NFL season.

"When it's time to cross that bridge, we'll cross that bridge," Banks told reporters after today's practice. "I'm just working on controlling what I can control, and coming in and putting good tape out, and working hard every day."

Banks also discussed his offseason focus, aiming to elevate his play.

"I kind of took the first part of the offseason and really just focused on getting stronger, and getting in shape, and [getting] faster," Banks shared. "And then, as OTA's (organized team activities) hit, just working on my fundamentals each day."

Dominick Puni

The 49ers saw enough promise in offensive lineman Dominick Puni to draft him in the third round this April. Analysts have praised the selection, believing the rookie can carve out a role within a sometimes inconsistent offensive line.

"Puni's good. He's figuring it out," Banks said. "I mean, it's not an easy offense, fundamentally, to kind of walk into, especially from a college locker room. So, there's some stepping stones, but it seems like he's starting to pick it up."

Banks acknowledged there will be growing pains. Jumping into head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense involves a learning curve, which can be challenging for a young player.

Banks added, "But me and Puni have talked, talked technique, talked [about] the offense, and how to have a good rapport."

Brock Purdy

Additionally, Banks shared his insights on Brock Purdy's development as the young quarterback prepares for his third NFL season. Purdy was thrust into the starting lineup as a rookie in 2022, guiding the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game. Last season, he set a single-season franchise record with 4,280 passing yards, leading the team to the Super Bowl.

"I think Brock kind of came in with a certain confidence and kind of swagger that you see in a leader," Banks shared. "And I think he's kind of just started to delve into that the more years he's been at the starting quarterback position. But I'm excited to see what Brock puts out there this year. I think he's really confident. I think he's starting to take a leadership role."

Banks noted that while Purdy was confident as a rookie, that confidence has only grown as he's become more comfortable. The quarterback has taken a more assertive role in the huddle and the locker room.

"But one thing I've seen from Brock is that his demeanor hasn't changed, as far as his work ethic and the way he comes to work every day," Banks continued. "It's been the same from day one, when he first got here in OTAs two years ago, to now."

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