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Who is more vital to success for the 49ers: Banks or Burford?

Both players enter their second seasons as starters. But which is more crucial to the Niners’ success?

Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Last season, the 49ers had newcomers or question marks across the interior of the offensive line. Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey were locked in at the tackle positions. Jake Brendel had a total of three NFL games under his belt starting at center, while Aaron Banks redshirted in his first season, and Spencer Burford started at right guard in his rookie season.

Fast-forward to 2023, and McGlinchey is in Denver. The 49ers have to feel good about their other four spots as they return their starters to uphold continuity. The sense around the building and listening to the 49ers coaching staff speak is Colton McKivitz is ready to roll at right tackle.

The question is, who is more vital to the success of the 49ers in 2023? Is it Banks or Burford?

After nearly 2,000 combined snaps for the duo in 2022, both players contributed admirably. The teams’ plan of sitting Banks and replacing Laken Tomlinson should be viewed as a success, especially considering the price point.

Both players missed only one game. Although, Burford’s story is different, considering he split snaps with Daniel Brunskill at RG. Kyle Shanahan rotated Daniel Brunskill at right guard to keep Burford from becoming overwhelmed.

According to PFF, Banks logged 1,146 offensive snaps and split 531 snaps as a run blocker. 615 snaps were as a pass blocker, which helped him finish with a 59.5 overall blocking grade. That is a far cry from Williams (who is the best in the NFL, by the way), who finished at 91.7.

PFF dinged Banks for two sacks allowed, four QB hits, 29 hurries, and 35 pressures. Still, Banks was solid and never felt like a liability at any point during the season. The 49ers have to be pleased with what they saw from Banks with hopes of more development in 2023.

As for Burford, PFF handed out a 51.8 overall blocking grade. In 432 pass-blocking snaps, Burford allowed four sacks, six QB hits, eight hurries, and 18 pressures. 833 snaps that were divided into 401 run-blocking snaps also led to a team-low run-blocking grade of 49.1.

Again, Burford was rotating, which is still not normal for any lineman, but Brunskill did provide security with his experience.

So, which player is more vital? Banks has the luxury of playing next to Williams, the best LT in football. Burford has to gel with McKivitz, who is starting for the first time in his career.

If the 49ers are going to stick to running the ball, Burford needs to take a leap and improve in the run game.

Spencer Burford is more vital to the success of the 49ers. Aaron Banks needs to take a leap as well, but the right side of the offensive line is more of a question mark than the left. Let us know how you feel in the comments.