Unless you’ve spent the past couple of seasons watching Aaron Banks at Notre Dame, you’re probably unfamiliar with the type of player the 49ers selected in the second round. Joshua Vowles from SB Nation’s Notre Dame site One Foot Down was kind enough to answer a handful of questions about Aaron Banks to give us more of an idea of who he is as a player.
It’s hard for us to get a good grasp on an offensive lineman if you haven’t watched him. What was something that consistently stood out to you about Banks, whether that was a good or bad thing?
Allow me to throw that word back at you... he was amazingly consistent. I suppose that’s not supposed to be the thing that sticks out with a highly rated offensive lineman, but after watching play after play and seeing Banks continually doing his job well - it stood out.
When you see Banks, you can’t help but notice how enormous of a human being he is. The people that have watched him say that doesn’t take away from his nimbleness. Do you think Banks’ size will affect him at the next level, and did it ever at Notre Dame?
The gods truly bless a man with that kind of size, and I don’t believe it ever negatively affected his play on the field. In fact, I am a person that watched him, and I have to agree that he is far more nimble on the field than his testing numbers would suggest. As far as the NFL goes, no lineman is coming in with perfect technique or footwork. He does, from time to time, like to lunge against a defender. it’s the times that he lunges where his size literally works against him during a pass rush.
Was Banks reliable during his time at Notre Dame? Walk us through his career path to starting this last year with the Irish and give us an idea about who Banks was as a player.
Aaron suffered a foot injury early in his career at Notre Dame. Given his size, it likely took him a while to get it fully healthy. His career path started a little earlier than planned. In 2018 he found himself as a starter after Alex Bars went down for the year with a knee injury. He finished that season with 6 straight starts that included one in the College Football Playoff.
He then went on to start for the Irish in 2019 and 2020 and started in every one of the 26 games played. The plan was for Banks to kick out to play left tackle with the departure of Liam Eichenberg in 2021, but he chose to follow Eichenberg to the league after receiving a good grade from the committee. He was as stout of an offensive lineman as Notre Dame has seen over the years. He didn’t have the highlight package of Quenton Nelson, but he was incredibly good and consistent.
What type of reputation did Banks have? That doesn’t have to be limited to what happened on the field. It would be what players, coaches, and fans thought about him off the field.
To be honest, I’m not sure what kind of reputation he had while at Notre Dame. He was ferocious on the field and was a good student in the classroom. Notre Dame had two captains already on the offensive line in Liam Eichenberg and Robert Hainsey, but he always came off (to me) as a guy that could lead when needed.
Did fans view Banks as an early-round pick? If so, what’s his redeeming quality to make him a top-50 pick. If not, where were you expecting Banks to go in the draft? He wasn’t in many top-50 mocks.
I think most fans naturally fell into the groove of the mock drafts - most of which had Banks going somewhere in the third round. I know a handful of people thought he could be a second-round pick (as did I), and that was because of his natural size and consistent play. He’s a guy who can come in right away and compete to be a starter in year one, and by year two, be the definitive starter.