The New York Giants have made notable enhancements to their defense this season, prominently drafting Deonte Banks, a cornerback from Maryland, in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft.
Banks is poised to play a substantial role alongside veteran corner Adoree Jackson. As Jackson, the team’s primary cornerback, is in the final year of his contract, Banks will have an excellent opportunity to hone his skills at the CB2 position.
Banks, who achieved the highest athleticism score among cornerbacks in this year’s draft class, also boasted the third-highest score over the past decade for the position.
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The Giants are preparing to groom Banks in 2023:
Given his exceptional speed and athleticism, Deonte possesses the potential to emerge as a top cornerback at the NFL level. Despite potentially replacing Jackson in the future, the veteran is embracing a mentorship role.
“I’m excited,” Jackson said. “I think about when I was in Tennessee, and I had Logan Ryan being able to help me and mentor me. And the following year, I had Malcolm Butler. I always think of it as an added benefit to us as a whole, not just the defense but the team as a whole. So, I’m excited, watched [Banks’] tape. Like him. Watched him go through the walk-throughs, different things. Talked to him. He’s got a good head on his shoulder. Seems like a great guy. I was excited to get Banks.”
As previously mentioned, Jackson is in the final year of a three-year, $39-million contract. He’s slated to earn $11 million in base salary with a $19 million cap hit. The team could save $6.6 million by releasing him, but they could benefit significantly more by regarding him as their top exterior corner.
In fact, general manager Joe Schoen could feasibly extend Jackson’s contract, retaining him for the next two seasons, and allow Banks to naturally progress to the top cornerback position on the roster.
Jackson, who at only 27 years old is in his prime, is an excellent fit for Wink Martindale’s defense. His assertive style is a standout feature, and his tackling saw significant improvement in 2022.
However, Banks contributes an aggressive approach to the run game and offers scheme versatility, valuable attributes if Martindale should eventually move on to a head coaching position. For now, Martindale is thrilled with what the Maryland standout contributes to the defense and his man coverage abilities.
“I just think he’s everything you want in a corner,” Martindale said. “Starting off with he’s tough and he can tackle. He likes to play press coverage, and he likes to be on the island out there. He loves the challenge of it. You can see he’s that way here. A very humble kid from Baltimore, and matter of fact, I went down to a football camp that Jameel McClain put on. Jameel played here and played for us in Baltimore as well. He was at that camp as a camper when he was a freshman in high school, and it was pretty cool.”
It was clear from this draft class that the Giants were aiming to boost their athleticism across the board. While Banks may be the best of the lot, they concentrated on speed and strength to enhance the overall talent on the roster while recruiting coachable players who can mold into their system.