Zach Ertz was probably the best player on the board when the Eagles selected him at No. 35 overall.
Ertz, an All-American at Stanford, was dubbed “the next Rob Gronkowski” by ESPN reporter Sal Paolantonio and Chip Kelly called him a “mismatch nightmare.”
That all sounds fantastic for an offense that clearly will be leaning heavy on the tight end in Kelly’s scheme, which is evident after the selection of Ertz and the signing of former Texan James Casey.
But, was it the biggest need at the time? No. What was? Cornerback. Was there a premier cornerback available at the time? Yes, Mississippi State’s Johnathan Banks.
Again, the Ertz pick is still a good one considering his reign of terror he went on against Pac-12 secondaries in his time as a Cardinal.
However, the failed experiment and departure of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left the cornerback position in shambles.
The acquisition of former Ravens corner Cary Williams was an underrated signing, but Philadelphia knew coming into draft weekend they needed to draft at least one more at the position.
The seventh round selection of Oregon State’s Jordan Poyer—a first-team All-American last year with seven interceptions—was considered by many as the steal of the draft.
That’s a phenomenal pick and all, but when a franchise has an opportunity to fill a dire need with a battle-tested corner like Banks they should probably take advantage of doing so.
Banks, standing at 6’2’’, is a physical press corner whose man coverage skills were under-utilized at Mississippi State.
Banks shut down the SEC’s top receivers while playing for the Bulldogs and registered the stats to backup his legitimacy.
The four-year letterman started his career at safety but made the switch to cornerback as a sophomore, which proved to be a success. Banks totaled 71 tackles (11.5 for loss), three sacks, three forced fumbles, nine pass breakups and five interceptions last year.
He was also Mississippi State’s primary punt returner, averaging 10.6 yards per return.
Using the phrase “sure thing” is deadly when speaking about the NFL Draft, but Banks’ transition to the next level seems like the closest thing to it.
Was Ertz the sexy pick? Of course it was. Was it the most sensible? Eh, probably not.