The following analysis does not reflect the opinions of the Washington Commanders unless specified in a direct quote.
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The Washington Commanders are inching closer to the NFL Draft, and I have some thoughts on the players who could be available to them with the No. 16 overall pick.
Over the next few weeks, I will be breaking down some prospect that have stood out to me in my analysis of the Commanders' positions of need. We'll start at the cornerback position, specifically with Maryland's Deonte Banks.
Deonte Banks leads the second-tier corners in my evaluation, falling in the same group as Emmanuel Forbes and Joey Porter Jr. The fact that they are in the same tier means I would be happy if the Commanders drafted any of them, but after watching a lot of film, I find myself leaning ever so slightly towards Banks.
Banks is physically special. He has good size for a corner, standing at 6-foot and weighting in at 197 pounds, and he moves exceptionally well for a man of that size. His 4.35 40 time is evidence of his raw horsepower, but being athletic for a corner encompasses more than that. Banks has excellent feet, can turn effortlessly with receivers and get to that straight line speed with little build up.
He is far from a perfect prospect -- at times he gets handsy at the catch point, accruing eight penalties last year -- he loses the ball in the air and has some ugly losses against the dynamic receiving group at Ohio State.
Which begs the question: why am I so high on him?
I love the player, his approach and his mindset. When I am watching corners, I often watch how they tackle and take on blocks. This is an aspect of a corner's game that is often underdeveloped. Banks is not an amazing tackler by linebacker or safety standards, but he is willing, physical and often eager to tackle. This tells me that he loves football and will continue to improve.
Another thing that I love is how challenging Maryland's scheme was for its corners. He was put in high leverage, man-to-man, one-on-one situations with comparatively little help on every snap. You usually must watch multiple games just to get a feel for a cornerback, especially if they are in off coverage 50-60% of the time like Porter and Forbes. With Banks, one game is enough. He is in press against some of the best wide receivers in the nation on a down to down basis. As an evaluator, you immediately see his competitiveness and athleticism.
Which brings me to how he fits in Washington. Washington is a zone team on paper, running Cover 3, and Cover 6 predominantly, and since Jack Del Rio’s arrival has been one of the more zone heavy teams in the NFL. However, Washington does not play traditional zone coverage like you see on Madden, all players dropping to their respective spots. They play a match zone, which combines man and zone principles.
Obviously, Bank's ability in man-to-man coverage would elevate the match coverage's that Del Rio likes to call. The development of Benjamin St-Juste is evidence of why that man skill set is so important.
However, the system would also benefit Banks. In Bank's limited snaps of pure zone, he shows an understanding of how to match concepts and force players to his help. Imagine the production a player like Banks could have if every snap wasn't so high leverage. He could play with his eyes to the quarter back and use his athleticism and size to close throwing windows and create turnovers. To me, it is an exiting proposition.
- Difficulty of scheme
- Complacent with his feet at LOS at times
- Eight Penalties last year can get too handsy
- Still getting comfortable in zone coverage
- Can be overly aggressive on double moves
- Still developing anticipation of routes relies too much on athleticism