With the NFL Scouting Combine a thing of the past now, one wide receiver who has been getting a good amount of hype from all the major sports Web sites is the speedy little receiver from Kansas State, Brandon Banks.
Banks went into the combine projected as a very late round pick or perhaps even becoming an undrafted free agent pickup after the draft, but the performance the speedster displayed was very impressive for an athlete who stands at 5'7" and 149 pounds.
Now, he is a lock for being drafted in the second half of April's draft.
At the combine, Banks displayed very good hands, route-running ability in the field drills, and a burst of speed going in and out of his cuts that might leave defenders in the dust who are trying to run with him.
A full-time starter at wide receiver for Kansas State in the two years he played there after transferring, Banks played much bigger on the field than his size would say.
Banks finished his career at Kansas State with 123 receptions for 1,754 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also had one rushing touchdown and returned five kicks for touchdowns too, four of which were in 2009 alone.
In a conversation this journalist had with Banks' representation on Thursday night, one play was recalled from the end of the 2009 season.
"Banks caught the ball, but then was hit hard by Nebraska's [Ndamukong] Suh, and even though he is smaller, his toughness and size allowed him to bounce right off of Suh breaking the tackle," said Banks' rep.
"I'm still trying to get that play on film, but I guarantee it would get a lot of attention once posted online."
He may be small, but Banks displayed confidence in a pre-NFL Combine interview this journalist had with phone via a phone call.
He still ran the 40-yard dash well, posting a time of 4.43 seconds which was tied for the fourth fastest time among the receivers.
Banks brings his talent into the NFL Draft, but he will bring an explosiveness that many teams are lacking on offense and on special teams?
He may only play on special teams in his rookie year, but Banks will instantly upgrade the return game for many teams that lacked in that area in 2009.
The following, in no particular order, are teams that may be interested in picking Banks in the second half of April's draft.
Special teams 2009 ranking (according to dallasnews.com ): 32
The Panthers were dead last in the special teams ranking and they could use Banks to better their return game, since in 2009, there were three different players who split up the kick returning duties.
Banks' speed on the offense would be a new feature, especially from the slot.
Special teams 2009 ranking: 31
The Packers split their return duties between four different players and none of them really made a big impact in 2009 so look for the Packers to upgrade their special teams and specifically look for a return man.
Special teams 2009 ranking: 21
If there is one team that really needs one player to assume both the kick and punt return duties in 2010, it is the 49ers because in 2009, they juggled return duties between nine different players.
The 49ers may be the best fit for Banks out of all other teams listed here.
Special Teams 2009 ranking: 16
Five different players had five kick returns or more in the 2009 season, and even though Wes Welker has been the punt returner, his injury will bring up the question of whether or not he should continue returning punts.
The Patriots may use this draft to find a player to assume both roles as a returner.
There may be a few other teams out there that could really use Banks' talent on special teams and as an explosive playmaker as a receiver, but these five are the teams that should really take a long and hard look at the Kansas State prospect because he could be a very good fit on their rosters.
If you didn't see the pre-NFL Combine interview with Banks, then click here to read it.
(This was an exclusive interview brought to you by Daniel Wolf.)