The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have turned the cornerback position into a total mess this season. They've had six different starters, and that wasn't due to injury. They just haven't been happy with anybody's play this season, except for Sterling Moore who has at least been a consistent starter since week eight -- but even he was benched at the start of the season.
This week, the Bucs are turning back to Johnthan Banks with undrafted rookie Jude Adjei-Barimah struggling recently. Here's what defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier had to say about Banks:
I do think he can be effective and he has been. He did some good things for us even last season, really came on strong as he got a better handle of what we were asking at the position. This year [he] had a little bit of a hiccup, Jude [Adjei-Barimah] came on, did a good job for us, Sterling [Moore] did a good job for us, but he’s going to get an opportunity over the next couple of weeks to show us why he deserves to be the guy at the position. We haven’t closed the book on Johnthan Banks at all. We know he has talent and he has a lot of ability so he’ll get opportunities.
Banks' benching this year has been weird, given that he looked like an outstanding cornerback at the end of last season and in the preseason. But he lasted two games as a starter before being benched, came into the lineup again in week five and then benched again after two games. Last week was the first time he got significant playing time since week six.
Obviously there was some reason for Banks' benching and he certainly didn't play well when he got the chance earlier this year, but he didn't look worse than the other cornerbacks either. Banks has some speed issues and arguably needs quality safety play to function consistently, but he has a knack for getting his hands on the ball, his length can compensate for his speed and he's tenacious against the run.
Of course, Banks will then have to keep it up through next season and a two-game stretch won't convince the Buccaneers to stay away from adding talent to the cornerback position. But a good showing can guarantee him a roster spot and a chance to compete for a starting job next year -- and it would give the Bucs some quality depth at the very minimum.