The 49ers have failed to get any consistent production from their highest drafted rookies so far this season. Despite drafting offensive guard Aaron Banks in the second round of this year’s draft, the Niners have kept him off the active roster as a healthy scratch in all of the team’s five games this season.
Incumbent starting guards Laken Tomlinson and Daniel Brunskill returned to the team this season, but given Banks’ draft stock, he was expected to challenge Brunskill for playing time at right guard. Instead, Banks has been absent from the team’s active gameday roster despite Brunskill’s struggles.
Niners Nation’s Akash Anavrathan has pointed out that the 49ers should emphasize Banks’ development at this point in the season, giving him an ample opportunity to supplant Brunskill at right guard. However, in Kyle Shanahan’s press availability on Wednesday, the 49ers head coach suggested no such move is on the horizon.
Shanahan expressed confidence in Brunskill’s ability, “Yeah, he’s [Dan Brunskill] secure in terms of, I believe Dan we can win with. So, it’s not that we’re sitting here and trying to replace him or anything. But I always want guys pushing him, and we obviously invested in some guys in the draft, and we have other guys here, some vets. I think all those guys are pushing him each week and looking better with the reps they have, and that’s something I hope continues.”
More concerningly, Shanahan said that veteran offensive lineman Tom Compton would be the team’s first option if they moved on from Brunskill, “In a game, yeah. Compton is so versatile. That’s why he’s definitely always up; he’s earned that too with how he played throughout training camp, but Compton also can help out. He’s played tackle in this league. He’s played guard in this league, so he’s always a good guy to have up, that I would never hesitate to start. If someone got hurt long-term, then we decide with the other guys.”
While Compton is a well-traveled veteran with plenty of experience, it remains highly concerning that the 49ers have been unwilling to trust a player like Banks, who they were willing to draft in the second round of this year’s draft, to play any role on this year’s roster.