Photo of Johnthan Banks
Grade
84.4 ?
  • 4.61 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 10 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 34.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 125.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 6.97 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.27 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 6'2" Height
  • 33 7/8" Arm Length
  • 185LBS. Weight
  • 9 1/4" Hands

Overview

Banks was recruited as a safety out of high school, and started there for the final seven games of his true freshman season for the Bulldogs. He even intercepted erstwhile quarterback Tim Tebow twice in the team’s 2009 loss to the Gators, scoring on a 100-yard return at the end of the first half. But his play at cornerback the past two seasons is what has put him on NFL scouts’ radar as a potential starter at the next level.



League coaches named him Freshman All-SEC squad for his play in his first season in Starkville (four interceptions, two touchdowns). He made the switch to cornerback before the 2010 season, starting 12 games, intercepting three passes and breaking up seven others as a sophomore. One of his picks that year helped the team beat the Gators 10-7 on their home field. His game took a step forward in 2011; not only did he make an impact in coverage (five interceptions, nine pass break-ups), but also as a regular blitzer (eight tackles for loss, three sacks, three forced fumbles) in the Bulldogs’ aggressive defense. He decided to return for his senior season after receiving a fourth round grade from the NFL advisory committee. Banks’ play was somewhat uneven over the course of his senior season, but he still played well enough (63 tackles, two tackles for loss, 11 passes defended, 4 interception) to earn first team All-Conference, second-team All-America honors, and the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back.

Analysis

Strengths

Height, length and competitive nature could make him a starter. Good hands for the interception, can high-point passes and make difficult catches with superb concentration. Effective on jump balls in end zone and knocks away passes from behind without interfering. Does not give up on plays even as receiver is catching the ball. Former safety is not contact-shy, solid tackler when coming downhill. Quick to attack running plays, even when playing off-coverage, making it tough for receivers to get a hand on him. Effective as a blitzer against the run and pass. Rips at the ball whether making a tackle downfield or attacking the quarterback in the backfield. Excellent mirror and change of direction skills, displays loose hips despite being a tall corner. Not asked to play a lot of press coverage and he’s not very strong, but he has a quick disruptive jam.

Weaknesses

Getting bigger, but still quite thin, especially in his lower half. Stronger backs can still carry him when they have a head of steam and physical receivers can block him on the edge and separate from him easily downfield. Plays a bit tall, will miss tackles coming in high and lacks strength to arm tackle receivers. Does not have elite straight-line speed, will not recover once losing a step. Rarely backpedals, asked to play mostly off-coverages and opens his hips early to prevent getting beat deep. Inconsistent looking for and finding the ball in the air, miss-timing jumps and taking bad angles to the ball. Can get caught peeking in the backfield.

NFL Comparison

Aqib Talib

Bottom Line

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.
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.
NFL News
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