Heading into the season, there was an abundance of speculation about how the interior offensive line would hold up with a rookie and a second-year first-time starter manning each of the guard positions.
Any of those concerns should now be alleviated, as the tandem of Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford have been among the league's best when it comes to pass protection at the guard position this season.
Banks and Burford have combined to allow 15 pressures in seven games this season, which ranks top five among guard duos who have logged at least 50 percent of their teams pass blocking snaps this season.
Even more noteworthy is how Banks and Burford have been able to pace one another’s production this season, with both players carrying essentially the same amount of weight when it comes to pass-blocking production.
Banks has been charged with allowing eight pressures this season and is coming off of back-to-back games without allowing a single pressure. That’s 92 consecutive pass-blocking snaps across two weeks that included a clean sheet against the Kansas City Chiefs on a whopping 55 pass-blocking snaps.
The 2021 second-round pick has been everything the 49ers could have asked for this season, but perhaps the bigger surprise has been the way that their 2022 fourth-round pick has hit the ground running in his first NFL season.
Burford has posted two clean sheets of his own this season and has allowed over one pressure just one time in the first seven games of his NFL career. The UTSA product has displayed a level of maturity and dependability that is light years of where you would typically expect a rookie Day 3 pick to be at this stage of his professional career.
To top is all off, both of these players are under the age of 25, and likely haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of their potential yet. An area that was once filled with uncertainty can now be viewed with great confidence moving forward.