The New York Giants selected Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks after trading up one spot at pick No. 24 to secure his services. The Giants were reportedly in the quarterback and wide receiver market at their original selection of pick No. 25.
The board was promising through the Jets' selection at pick No. 15. Three quarterbacks were off the board, four tackles, and two running backs. However, Emmanuel Forbes (Mississippi State) and Christian Gonzalez (Oregon) were selected by Washington and New England, respectively, at picks No. 16 & 17.
At pick 20, four wide receivers came off the board one after another, and the Giants were linked to each of them. Joe Schoen said in his press conference after day one of the draft that the draft board was becoming “depleted.” Schoen crossed his t’s and dotted his i’s and had a deal worked out with Jacksonville for this scenario.
The Giants loved Deonte Banks and several teams selecting after the Giants had Banks into their facility for a Top-30 visit. New York did not want to risk Jacksonville trading out of pick No. 24 so a team could leapfrog the Giants - as Giants fans saw in 2021 with DeVonta Smith and in 2016 with Leonard Floyd and Jack Conklin.
Wink Martindale was jubilant in the draft room, and I understand why; the Giants added an incredible athlete with good size to their cornerback room:
Here’s a brief scouting report I wrote about Banks in February:
Deonte Banks solidified himself as a possible first-round selection after a steller combine that was followed up by an impressive redshirt-junior season. Banks only allowed a 43.3% catch rate with 8 passes defended and an interception in 2022, earning an honorable mention for All-Big-10. Banks was primed for a breakout campaign in 2021, but he suffered a shoulder injury against Howard that required surgery and effectively ended his season.
Banks has 1,492 career defensive snaps in his career. He played an equal amount of snaps on the field’s left and right sides. Banks finished his career with 83 tackles, 0.5 for a loss, 0.5 sacks, two interceptions, and 11 passes defended. He can play in any coverage and has much experience in a press alignment. He has the upside to be a true cornerback one.
- An elite twitchy athlete with excellent explosiveness and good change of direction
- Good overall deep speed and acceleration with a second gear
- Quick feet with excellent hip fluidity - solid combination of movement and size
- Changes direction well and maintains solid body control
- Although his press technique can improve, he’s an effective press corner who maximizes his length
- Tough punch that sets a tone - authoritative
- Jam and rides in a harassing manner
- Does well to squeeze outside stems off redline to the sideline - gives receivers little breathing room on outside releases
- Excellent job mirroring the release of WRs - good ability to restrict space on breaks in man coverage
- High upside coverage player who can thrive in man or zone coverage
- Stays on the hip of WRs on inside breaking routes - good technique on the horizontal plane to maintain subtle contact and play through the catch point with forward hand
- Solid eye discipline in zone coverage - uses peripheral vision to see backside routes crossing over - passes them off well
- Communicates with his teammates in match principled concepts
- Does well to click & close on routes underneath him in zone coverage
- Good spatial awareness when midpointing vertical No.1 & No. 2
- Leverages athletic gifts to close width well in these scenarios
- Good tackler who wraps up and uses his length
- Not scared of contact
- A shoulder injury in his past must be evaluated
- Press footwork and punch could be ironed out - is aggressive, can miss
- Sometimes doesn’t bring his feet with his punch
- Gets very grabby when fooled on double moves
- Great coverage skills, but will grab in recovery (8 penalties in 2022) - specifically on the vertical plane
- Only had two career interceptions
- Allowed a few deep one-on-one receptions that - with better awareness - he could have located and either knocked down or intercepted
- Block deconstruction can improve
Deonte Banks is a fluid sudden athlete who can play man, zone, or zone-match type of defense. He handled several responsibilities at Maryland and was one of the better outside cornerbacks in the country last season. A coaching staff will appreciate his physical nature, his mirroring ability, and the tenacity he brings to the catch point.
I really love Banks’ game but wish he was a bit better with his press technique. He’s also grab-happy and will draw yellow laundry when he’s baited by double moves on the vertical plane in one-on-one situations. The 2021 shoulder injury is something to keep in mind, but teams will have that evaluated. If you’re looking for a coverage player with elite athletic ability and press upside - like the Giants are currently looking for - then Deonte Banks could be your guy.
Present Nick Falato loves seeing that past Nick Falato wrote that last sentence. I considered Banks at pick No. 25 a slam-dunk before the draft, and the trade up of one spot does nothing to alter that feeling. The Giants started the 2023 draft well. Now it’s time to see what else Joe Schoen and the Giants have up their sleeves.