The New York Giants have faced a gauntlet of elite wide receivers and offenses to start the season. The team has struggled to compete, falling to a 1-4 record and having been blown out in three of their four losses.
Despite the team’s struggles, rookie first-round pick Deonte Banks has shown promise. The 22-year-old cornerback has flashed his potential, earning high praise and putting up impressive stats during his rookie season.
Deonte Banks earns high praise from PFF
The high level of Banks’ play has caught the attention of Pro Football Focus. Banks 61.8 overall PFF grade so far this season, ranking him third among all rookie cornerbacks in the NFL.
PFF’s Dalton Wasserman praised Banks following his Week 5 performance, saying the Giants’ rookie is “getting a bit better with each passing week.” According to Wasserman, Banks has yet to give up a 20-plus-yard pass play this season.
Banks held up surprisingly well in coverage against Miami, allowing three catches for just 15 yards and one first down on a screen pass. He also had excellent coverage on Jaylen Waddle in the end zone for his lone pass breakup. Banks is getting a bit better with each passing week and has yet to give up a 20-plus-yard pass play. He is quietly improving.Dalton Wasserman of Pro Football Focus
Banks’ season stats
In addition to his 61.8 overall PFF grade, Banks has posted the coverage stats to back up his performance. He already has four pass breakups on the season and has missed just one tackle despite the team’s frequent struggles in that category.
Banks has been targeted 24 times in coverage, allowing just 13 receptions (54.2%) for 122 yards and two touchdowns. These are respectable numbers for a rookie who has had to assume the No. 1 cornerback position in Big Blue’s lineup from the get-go.
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The Giants are relying heavily on Banks
His standing as the team’s primary boundary corner has pitted Banks against some intense competition. In Week 1, Banks faced off against former second-team All-Pro WR CeeDee Lamb before being tasked with covering another former All-Pro in Deebo Samuel in Week 3.
Week 4 saw Banks have to defend another former second-team All-Pro in DK Metcalf before lining up against Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill in Week 5.
Once again, Banks will be primarily covering another elite talent in Week 6. His primary task will be to defend against Stefon Diggs of the Buffalo Bills who has been to the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons while also being selected to two All-Pro teams in that span.
Diggs is arguably Banks’ toughest challenge to date, but the rookie has proven that he is capable of holding his own. Banks allowed 50+ yards in a game only once in his college career, per PFF.
The Giants will need their rookie corner to rise to the occasion once again and prove that he can handle covering the best wide receivers in the NFL.