Wed, 12 May 2021

'Physicality' Characterizes 49ers Picks on Day 2 of NFL Draft

San Francisco 49ers
03 May 2021, 05:44 GMT+10

General manager John Lynch identified three qualities desired in a 49ers offensive lineman - easily attributed to Notre Dame and El Cerrito HS product Aaron Banks.

"You always want someone who is big, someone who can move and someone who is a scheme fit," Lynch said Friday night. "In this case, we found a candidate for all of that."

After seeing the 6-foot-5, 330-pound guard play: Check, check and check.

That's why the 49ers were so excited to select him at No. 48 overall, after a slight trade down early in the NFL Draft's second day.

Banks is certainly everything Lynch mentioned, though the GM left one trademark trait out.

Violent.

"I like to knock people down," Banks said. "Some people call it 'head hunting.' But I'm a big body [on] the offensive line that plays big, plays with a lot of physicality, likes to hit people, likes to knock people down and sometimes you see it."

You can see that desire in everyone the 49ers selected during the NFL Draft's second day. They took Banks in the second round. They traded up to select Ohio State running back Trey Sermon at No. 88 and then picked Michigan cornerback Ambry Thomas at No. 102.

We know about Banks. A quick scouting report on the others:

Sermon is a big guy at 6-foot-0, 215 pounds, with a so-so 40-yard dash time, but excellent burst and short-area quickness. He's well versed in an outside zone rushing scheme that the 49ers and Buckeyes employ, and he isn't afraid to run through people.

Thomas is an ideally sized cornerback with great speed who can locate the ball well. Analysts say he can play press coverage or zone, and he isn't afraid to mix it up.

Catching a theme, here?

All three guys are physical. All three guys are tough. All three guys fit the 49ers mold.

That last part is important. The 49ers don't want tough for toughness' sake. They don't want aggressive for aggression's sake. They demand more.

"Physicality is something we value a lot. We love guys who play physical, but you have to have a certain skill set that we're looking for, too," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "All these guys did have that skill set. When you can find guys with a skill set that you appreciate and fits well with what you're trying to do and then they have that mindset, that's what we always want."

That's what the 49ers got, in three areas of need. Banks will have a shot to start at right guard, next to former college teammate and right tackle Mike McGlinchey. Thomas adds necessary depth to the cornerback corps, which is talented but thin beyond the starting lineup. Sermon's a big body and good one-cut runner who will join a running back rotation that has served the 49ers so well under Shanahan.

The 49ers maneuvered around the Day 2 draft board, executing a trade down for Banks and used one of the picks earned to trade back up for Sermon. They added to key areas with well-sized, physical players who can move. They head into Saturday's final four rounds confident that they added three quality picks to the mix.

"I really feel like we got better today, and I think we moved [around the draft board] well," Lynch said. "We worked as a unit well up there to encourage each other to be patient. And it was a really good day for the Niners."

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