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2021 NFL Draft prospect profile: Aaron Banks, OG, Notre Dame

Could Aaron Banks fill an opening on the Giants’ offensive line?

Camping World Bowl - Notre Dame v Iowa State Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The New York Giants have some important decisions to make along their offensive line which could significantly impact their draft strategy.

Not only do they need to decide which — and how many — linemen will become cap casualties, but what they want to do with Will Hernandez and Shane Lemieux going forward. The two young guards both saw plenty of playing time at the left guard position over the course of 2020. Unfortunately, both players had issues which helpt to limit the offense in their respective times on the field.

The Giants also need to decide what kind of blocking scheme they want to run going forward. They wanted to run a zone scheme early — playing to strengths of Saquon Barkley — but found their identity late with a power run scheme and Wayne Gallman Jr.

If the Giants find themselves in need of a guard, and decide to stick with the power running scheme which worked well in the second half of the season, they could look to Aaron Banks out of Notre Dame.

Banks is a big, powerful, and experienced guard prospect who’s ability in the power game should intrigue any team looking to run that style of offense.

Prospect: Aaron Banks

Games Watched: vs. Georgia (2019), vs. Duke (2020), vs. Florida State (2020)

Measurables

Games Played (2020): 31 (12 in 2020)

Quick Summary

Best: Size, play strength, competitive toughness, power blocking
Worst: Outside zone blocking, range, balance
Projection: A starting guard in a power-based blocking scheme.

Game Tape

Banks is OL no. 69 at LG

Full Report

Notre Dame guard Aaron Banks, is a big, powerful guard prospect with surprising athleticism and strength to spare.

Banks primarily aligned at left guard for Notre Dame, though he occasionally moved out to left tackle when necessary. He is a very powerful guard prospect, showing great play strength in both pass protection and run blocking. Banks has good lower-body flexibility and is able to comfortably sit into his stance. He generally plays with a wide base and good leverage, with solid ankle, knee, and hip mobility to play with good pad level.

He has solid quickness off the line of scrimmage, reacting quickly to the snap and wasting no time in getting his hands into position to engage defenders. Banks has a ready, heavy, and accurate punch which generally finds defenders’ chest plates and delivers a jolt to disrupt their rush. He shows good short-area quickness for such a big guard, which is what allows him to fill in at tackle in a pinch. Banks has very good play strength, ability to anchor and re-anchor against bullrushes, as well as dig defensive tackles out of gaps when he plays with leverage.

Banks shows great competitive toughness throughout his game. He works to sustain his blocks through the echo of the whistle, looks for work, and routinely tries to finish his blocks with the defender on the ground. He also shows good awareness of stunts and twists along the line of scrimmage, as well as reacting quickly to pick up late pressure.

Banks works extremely well in double-teams, driving defenders off the ball before working to the second level.

As with most bigger linemen, Banks can struggle when asked to play in space or block on the move. He appears somewhat awkward when executing pull blocks, and his blocks can become inaccurate when pulling or playing in space. Likewise, he can begin to lumber when asked to run any kind of a distance. Banks also has a slight tendency to lunge when faced with athletic interior linemen or particularly fast blitzers.

Overall Grade: 7.2 - This prospect has starting upside in the correct scheme, but athletic limitations could make him scheme dependent at the next level.

Projection

Aaron Banks projects as a starting guard in an offense which uses power blocking schemes in the run game.

Banks is an athletic blocker for a guard who tips the scales at nearly 340 pounds, with quick feet and surprising agility in a short area. While he should be considered a “guard only” prospect, Banks’ experience filling in at tackle could give his future team some added flexibility in the event of injury or equipment failure at a tackle position.

Teams that run power offenses — heavily based in man-gap and inside zone in particular — should be interested in Banks and will likely have him more highly graded. Teams that are looking to run a more horizontal, outside zone based offense will want to look elsewhere. Banks might flash surprising athleticism for his size, but he is a limited athlete overall.

Teams might also want to work with Banks to improve his body composition. He is a big, bulky guard who takes up a lot of room on the inside, but slimming down some (even if “only” to 320) could help make his game more well-rounded without sacrificing any of his power.

Banks isn’t athletic enough to be considered a high pick, but he could prove to be a solid value in the early mid-rounds for the right team.