The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have added cornerback Johnthan Banks in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. After fielding one of the worst secondaries in the NFL last year, the Buccaneers have aggressively attacked that weakness, adding two All-Pros in safety Dashon Goldson and cornerback Darrelle Revis, getting Eric Wright to take a pay cut to keep him around and now adding a quality second-round pick in Johnthan Banks.
But what did people think of Johnthan Banks before the selection was made? Let's go over a couple of articles from around the internet.
SEC receivers were hoping Banks would head to the NFL after his second-team All-SEC junior season, but they had to deal with the tall, lean three-year starter's ball skills and competitive streak for another season before he headed off to challenge pro receivers. He has experience playing a number of spots in the secondary, beginning his career as a safety, before eventually settling on the boundary corner and nickel spots. His skills is man coverage were under-utilized at Mississippi State, and if he can keep adding weight to his long, wiry frame, has the potential to be an excellent press-man corner, a skill that will make get him selected in the top 40 picks.
Strengths: Good length and tall frame for the position. Natural flexibility and agile footwork to quickly redirect, driving fast and physical on plays. Always seems to know where the ball is, quickly locating and aggressively goes after it. Good discipline to read routes and stay glued to receivers.
Very good ballskills to snatch the ball out of the air and is ballhawk in the secondary with a school-record 16 career interceptions. Comfortable and confident in coverage, using his eyes to bait throws. Opportunistic player and always looking for the game-changing play, never afraid to take chances.
The fact that Banks has played some free safety at a fairly high level makes him an interesting positional chip at the next level, especially with teams that like to play heavy nickel and dime coverages, and move their guys around. Late in his career, Charles Woodson showed the amazing value of such players, and while Banks isn't at that level yet (he may never be, but Woodson's a deadlock Hall-of-Famer), he does possess some striking attributes that transition well to today's NFL.
He's got the kind of open-field ranginess teams prefer when facing an abundance of three- and four-receiver sets, he plays well in the slot, and he can move up high in different packages. Jenkins has played both cornerback and safety for the Saints, and Banks may be best-served by the same level of functional versatility.
Johnthan Banks is an experienced ballhawking corner who has played against some of the best receivers in the country in the toughest conference. At 6'2″ Banks possesses well above average height for the position to go with long arms. He plays an aggressive style and tries to make a big play whenever he has the chance. He's a very sound and productive run support corner. Can wrap up and bring down ball carrier and blitz off the corner.
Banks will be a versatile corner at the next level he has experience playing many zone coverages, but has shown enough in press coverage to develop into a decent one if the proper technique is learned. Banks' quickness, suddenness and change of direction will all be picked apart throughout the draft process. He probably won't time as good as other corners, but like Casey Hayward last year Banks has a nose for the ball and finds a way to make a big play each game.
I really think it comes down to scheme fit for Banks. I don't see him excelling in a system that plays a lot of man coverage. A heavy zone team could value Banks very highly. He has a knack for finding the football when it's in front of him and plays with his eyes as well as any corner in the draft. He could have really benefitted by playing in the Senior Bowl and showing that he could match up with top receivers in 1-on-1 drills. Concerned with taking him in the first round given the questions about his lack of pure coverage ability. If I'm a heavy zone based system, I don't have a problem taking this guy in the top 20.
Banks is a well-rounded cornerback for the NFL. He has the size and strength to play press-man coverage. Banks has great length to make it very difficult for quarterbacks to get the ball around him. Plus, he has good ball skills. Banks has good hands and is adept at getting in position to snatch interceptions. He has good instincts to help create turnovers and splash plays.
Banks is a physical corner. He is a gritty player who doesn't shy away from contact and never hesitates in run support. Against big receivers, Banks is a nice weapon for defenses to employ. His height and length allow him to take away some red-zone mismatches.
The biggest concern with Banks is if he is fast enough to run with deep threat receivers in the NFL. That could be a problem for him against elite play-makers.