Ex-Teammate of 49ers Starter Among 5 WR Tryouts: Report

Aaron Banks

Getty Aaron Banks looks to deliver a block on August 14, 2021 during the preseason.

Following the 22-16 home win over the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi’s Stadium in Week 10, the San Francisco 49ers hosted some wide receivers for a tryout.

Per ESPN NFL insider Field Yates, the 49ers held workouts for five different wideouts on Monday, November 14.

While ultimately, Dazz Newsome was rewarded with a spot on the practice squad, it’s one member of that five-receiver group who would’ve reunited with a fast-rising 49ers starter if he were awarded a deal.

‘Big, Well-Built’ WR Played With Emerging 49ers Star in College

Of the five names who worked out in front of the 49ers’ representatives, Javon McKinley is one of the more notable tryouts.

If the name rings a bell for Norte Dame fans, he was not only a star wide receiver for the Fighting Irish, but was brief college football teammates with left guard Aaron Banks.

McKinley arrived to South Bend, Indiana before Banks came on board for the Irish’s 2017 class. The 6-foot-2 wide receiver came to ND as one of the most decorated high school prospects for the class of 2016. He was the nation’s No. 12 ranked wide receiving prospect by 247Sports and went on to become a first team All-State selection as a senior from talent-heavy Centennial High School in Corona, California — also the high school alma mater of 2022 49ers second round edge rusher Drake Jackson.

McKinley got action with the Irish in 2019 and 2020 by catching a total of 53 catches for 985 yards and scoring 7 touchdowns — all while starting in a ND offense that had Banks helping anchor the line. McKinley put together his best CFB campaign during the truncated 2020 season, which was also his and Banks’ final collegiate year. McKinley went on to deliver four 100-yard games which included a 5-catch, 102-yard day in the 47-40 double overtime win over No. 3 Clemson on November 7, 2020 and then busted out a 6-catch, 135-yard outing in the 31-17 victory over No. 19 North Carolina on November 27.

McKinley was described as a “big, well built and fairly strong” wide receiver by nfl.com draft expert Lance Zierlein before his draft process. He included how McKinley “has outstanding size and the frame to box out defenders and shield the catch,” but added “He’s a little tight-legged, which turns him into a more linear, readable route-runner and he lacks the short-area wiggle to escape easily from press or separate out of breaks.” Zierlein included how McKinley was an athletically limited downfield threat.

McKinley’s NFL career has witnessed two stops after going undrafted in the 2021 class. He began with the Detroit Lions before parting ways via waivers on May 12, 2022 and then joined the Pittsburgh Steelers on August 1, 2022. However, he was waived with an injury settlement on August 16.

Banks Producing Key Mark in First Season as Starter

Meanwhile on Banks’ end, the decision for the 49ers to insert him as a starter in the wake of Pro Bowler Laken Tomlinson’s departure has proven to become one of the best offseason moves the 49ers made.

While manning the blindside alongside All-Pro Trent Williams, Banks has delivered this accomplishment: Not allowing a single sack so far this season.

And as noted by Brad Graham of @TheSFNiners, Banks has picked up some nastiness nuggets from Williams — on display here during this pass block sequence against the Chargers:

Banks not allowing a single sack has emerged as “maybe most important 49ers development of 2022” by 49ers insider from The Athletic David Lombardi.

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