Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE
Johnthan Banks will face off with Justin Hunter on October 13.
Without a doubt the top corner prospect in the 2013 draft class, Mississippi State's Johnthan Banks is a long, lean, quarterback-killing machine in the secondary. Having NFL-like reactions and closing speed to the ball in-air, Banks' combination of ranginess and anticipation enables him to get a hand on almost every throw directed his way.
Having the mental and physical makeup of a longtime starter in the NFL, Banks has a readily transferable style of play that will lead to early success. Beginning his collegiate career at the safety position, Banks has started each of the last two seasons at cornerback, while missing just one start from 2010 to 2011.
Experienced and more than capable within a multiple-style defense, Banks' skill set fits the mold for a number of team defenses. As such, he'll likely be a hot commodity come April 2013.
At 6'2", 185 pounds with a 4.4-to-4.5 timed 40-yard dash and likely 36-plus-inch vertical, the talent level is undoubtedly there with Banks. Possessing the elite length and requisite speed needed on the outside, he has plus tools to work with.
More importantly, however, he understands the game at a high level. Seemingly always under control and fully aware of his surroundings, Banks excels in zone coverages by locating incoming routes with consistency, recognizing route progressions and anticipating throws from the quarterback.
Experienced in off-man or press-man coverage and Cover 2, 3 or 4 zone, Banks has NFL-ready cover skills on the outside. At his best when lined head over the receiver, in bump-and-run man coverage or Cover 2 press, Banks wins early off the snap by keeping his tight pedal steps underneath his base and maintaining balance while initiating contact.
Exceptional with his jam technique, Banks sits into a low stance, keeps his feet active and lands his punches with consistent placement on the receiver’s midsection. Locking out on contact and mirroring throughout the contact, Banks sticks to his man’s hip pocket and is quick to locate the football.
The combination of instinctive and intelligent play, along with sound fundamentals and plus physical tools, forges a great player here in Johnthan Banks, as I expect him to develop into one of the more consistent players in this upcoming 2013 draft.