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90-man roster: Can UDFA DT Josh Banks earn a spot?

Ability to rush the passer is likely his ticket

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Wake Forest
Josh Banks makes a tackle.
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

In 2015 the Giants used an under-sized former Wake Forest defensive lineman as a pass rush specialist, when Nikita Whitlock played some snaps on defense in addition to his duties at fullback. Now, another under-sized Wake Forest defensive lineman is trying to make it with the Giants. Let’s learn more about defensive tackle Josh Banks.

2016 Season in Review

Banks had 34 tackles, eight for loss, and 4.5 sacks for the Demon Deacons. In three seasons at Wake Forest he totaled 10.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss.

2017 Season Outlook

Is Banks really a defensive tackle? He is listed by the Giants at 6-foot-3, 278 pounds. Olivier Vernon is 275, Jason Pierre-Paul is listed at 278 and Romeo Okwara is also listed at 278. At defensive tackle, Damon Harrison is 350 pounds, Robert Thomas is 325 and second-round pick Dalvin Tomlinson is 312. Can Banks play inside with those guys?

I guess we will find out.

In his 2017 NFL Draft Guide, Dane Brugler of CBS Sports said:

“He became a sophomore starter in 2014 and earned All-ACC Honorable Mention honors, but his junior season was disappointing, ending in a three-game suspension due to a violation of team rules. Starting 12 games at nose tackle in 2016, Banks showed improvements as a senior with a career-best 8.0 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He is undersized for interior work and too easily moved at the point of attack, lacking the anchor strength to consistently hold his ground. Banks shows the lateral quickness to move up-and-down the line of scrimmage, finding the football and forcing the ballcarrier to find a new path. He admittedly still has growing up to do, on and off the field. Overall, Banks moved all over the defensive line at Wake with his tweener skill-set, but he lacks a natural NFL position and needs to get stronger to survive in the trenches.”

Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst says:

Hard-working defensive tackle prospect who projects as a three-technique player on Sundays. Relatively athletic, plays with proper pad level and moves well to every direction of the field. ... Average first-step quickness. Lacks bulk and easily sealed from the action. ... possesses the leverage and movement skills to line up as a three-technique tackle but must improve his strength at the point.

Maybe the position for Banks is irrelevant. Maybe he can show the Giants enough that he can stick on the practice squad, use the year to get into the weight room and get stronger, and become a guy who can at least be a pass-rush specialist from the 3-tech spot. Then again, maybe his size will prevent him finding a spot with the Giants.

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