Comparing Johnthan Banks' pre-draft measurements

Al Messerschmidt

What can Johnthan Banks' pre-draft measurements teach us?

Player A

College

Height:

6’3"

Weight:

195

Pro Day 40 time:

4.53

Combine 40 time:

4.54

Bench:

16

Vertical:

38"

Senior


Year


Pass Broken up


INTs


Tackles


6

4

49

Player B

College

Height:

6’2"

Weight:

185

Pro Day 40 time:

4.57

Combine 40 time:

4.61

Bench:

10

Vertical:

34"

Senior


Year


Pass Broken up


INTs


Tackles


7

4

63

Both of these players are similar in stats, with Player A being stronger and having a higher vertical jump, but Player B being more involved in tackling. Both of these players were drafted outside the first round of the NFL draft. We all know that the Seahawks grabbed Richard Sherman, who is a tall cornerback that does not run all that fast, in the later rounds of the draft and he turned out to be a shutdown corner. So can either Player A or Player B be the next Sherman?

One of these players is a Buccaneer. In fact, we are talking about the newly minted Buc cornerback Johnthan Banks. Here’s a snippet from nfldraftscout.com - Johnthan Banks:

" Draft Scout Snapshot: A closer look at the Bucs’ picks: Round 2/43 – Johnthan Banks… is a tall, physical cover corner in the Richard Sherman mode that fits well in the Bucs’ defense scheme. He had 16 career interceptions for the Bulldogs, tying a school record and was the Jim Thorpe Award winner in 2012. Will learn a lot playing alongside Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson. – The Sports Xchange."

The Jim Thorpe award is an award given to the top defensive back in college football. Here’s a list of Jim Thorpe award winners in the previous five years:

Jim Thorpe Award Winners


2008 – 2012

Year


Player


College


Drafted


Round(pick)


2008

Malcolm Jenkins

Ohio State

1 (14th)

2009

Eric Berry

Tennessee

1 (5th)

2010

Patrick Petersen

LSU

1 (5th)

2011

Morris Claiborne

LSU

1 (6th)

2012

Johnthan Banks

Mississippi State

2 (43rd)

Banks is in very good company as a Jim Thorpe award winner. Oddly, though, he is the only Jim Thorpe award winner that was not drafted in the first round out of that quintet. In fact, Banks was the sixth cornerback taken in the 2013 NFL draft. Johnthan was also drafted after his teammate playing opposite of him at Mississippi State, Darius Slay. Slay was drafted in the second round as the 36th pick, seventh spots earlier than Banks.

So what made Banks drop so low despite his achievement in winning the Jim Thorpe award as the top defensive back in college football? Before the combine, the consensus was Johnthan Banks was the second best corner behind Dee Milliner. When Banks ran his 40 yard run sprint he had slower than his projected 4.46 second time, stat from WalterFootball.com 2013 prospects preview. Banks ran a lot slower. That was the only determining factor on why Banks dropped.

As I was perusing the write up on Banks on WalterFootball.com, I found something quite interesting for us Buc fans:

"4/24/13: Most projections have Banks going in the second round, and he could be an excellent value pick. Banks had a disappointing Combine that featured a slow 40 time. However with the demand for big corners like the Seahawks have used effectively, Banks benefits by comparison. He ran better at his pro day with a reported 40 time of 4.51 seconds.

Banks had initially committed to play in the Senior Bowl, but he pulled out for injury-related reasons. Banks amassed 63 tackles, four interceptions and seven passes broken up in 2012. He averaged 9.8 yards per punt return, too. Banks had an excellent game against Auburn with two interceptions. The picks came in the second quarter and helped the Bulldogs pull away from the Tigers.


Banks had some great games in the following weeks. He had huge performances against Tennessee and Middle Tennessee State, but injured his knee in the latter contest.

That injury lingered, yet Banks continued to play. The knee seemed to be slowing him down against Alabama and Texas A&M as he wasn't his normal play-making self. Banks was part of two coverage breakdowns for scores gainst the Crimson Tide. On the first breakdown, he was beaten on a go route by Kenny Bell for a 57-yard touchdown. On the second, Banks was in zone and thought he had linebacker help to the inside, but nobody was there and the tight end came wide open for an easy touchdown toss.

The senior didn't record an interception and had only two passes broken up in the final six games after the knee injury.
" - WalterFootball.com

Permit me to put dates to certain events in chronological order. The Senior Bowl was held on January 25, 2013. From February 20 – 26 was when the NFL combine was conducted. Mississippi State’s pro day was held on March 6th. As denoted from the above review of Banks, he was playing injured for the latter part of his senior season. Banks pulled out of the Senior Bowl due to injury related reasons. A month later was the NFL combine, where Johnthan posted a terrible 40 yard time. A week or so later on the MSU’s pro day, Banks posted a slightly better time. At that same pro day, teammate Darius Slay had ran a 40 yard time of 4.36 seconds. The damage at the combine conflated with Slay’s 40 time at the pro day had laid Banks’ demise to the second round and being drafted below Slay.

What if Banks was still being hindered by his knee injury during the combine and pro day? A week or so later made some improvement in Banks’ speed. There is a possibility that the Buccaneers were fortunate that many other teams overlooked Banks and his injury due to his slow 40 time at the NFL combine. Reflecting on the list of Jim Thorpe award winners, Banks’ skill set seemed to have taken a back seat to his speed. Now, back to our two unknown players who have the possibility of becoming the next Richard Sherman, shutdown corner:

Player A

College

Height:

6’3"

Weight:

195

Pro Day 40 time:

4.53

Combine 40 time:

4.54

Bench:

16

Vertical:

38"

Senior


Year


Pass Broken up


INTs


Tackles


6

4

49

Player B

College

Height:

6’2"

Weight:

185

Pro Day 40 time:

4.57

Combine 40 time:

4.61

Bench:

10

Vertical:

34"

Senior


Year


Pass Broken up


INTs


Tackles


7

4

63

Have you figured out which one is Tampa Bay draftee Johnthan Banks? Player B is Banks. Who do you think Player A is? It is not a person from the 2013 NFL draft. Player A is none other than shutdown corner Richard Sherman.

In an interview with Banks produced by Buccaneers.com, revealed that Banks has had four different coordinators in college. His adaptability skills may pay dividends as he now will be adapting to yet another different coordinator. Also in that interview, Banks re-introduced to a reporter that he has played both zone and man coverage at Mississippi State.

Bucs’ GM Dominik and head coach Schiano had a good defensive draft in 2012 as they selected safety Mark Barron in the first round and linebacker Lavonte David in the second round. This draft they went with cornerback Johnthan Banks. At this moment, the competition for the starting corner position, playing opposite of Revis, will be between Banks and second year returnee Leonard Johnson. I am writing this article to give hope for the Buc faithful. Thus, I will conclude this article by sending you to another article discussing how Banks may supplant Eric Wright. It was written on June 13, 2013, well way before Eric Wright fell out of favor with the Bucs and out of the organization. Click here: Can Johnthan Banks Supplant Eric Wright at Cornerback?

There is hope.

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