The New York Giants prioritized upgrading the cornerback position in the 2023 NFL draft. They moved up one spot to ensure Maryland standout Deonte Banks was still available, who is expected to start alongside Adoree Jackson as a primary boundary defensive back.
Banks, a 6-foot-1 and 200-pound defender, possesses the ideal size for an NFL cornerback and posted the highest athleticism score of any corner at the 2023 NFL Combine. With a 4.35 40-yard dash and 1.49-second 10-yard split, Banks offers elite athleticism and tremendous developmental upside. After all, there’s a reason he was drafted in the first round and has the profile of a CB1.
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The Giants likely view Deonte Banks as their future CB1:
There’s a strong argument that Banks could take over Jackson’s top-dog role in 2024 after the veteran’s contract expires following the upcoming season. Banks can play in every coverage system, but Wink Martindale’s man-coverage style is a perfect fit. Most scouting profiles rate Banks as an above-average cornerback at the next level.
However, many are overlooking Old Dominion corner Tre Hawkins III as a potential starter down the line. Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 195 pounds, Hawkins has an impressive frame and could compete for opportunities in 2023. Given his athletic profile, there are plenty of developmental qualities to work with.
Jeremy Fowler of ESPN believes the Giants drafted two impact players with, Banks and Hawkins.
“The Giants believe they got two impact corners in the draft — sixth-round corner Tre Hawkins III from Old Dominion is more than a flier — he’s a true sleeper who will push for playing time.”
If Big Blue secured two starting cornerbacks in one draft class, it would be considered a major success. Martindale’s system requires athletic corners with an aggressive mentality, which was clearly prioritized.
Most of Hawkins’s weaknesses center around his mental processing, which simply means he needs more experience and film study. He has the perfect frame for an NFL corner, so while he might not start immediately, it wouldn’t be surprising if he worked his way into the lineup sooner rather than later.
Considering the team’s lack of depth at the position, he certainly has leverage when it comes to seeing significant action this upcoming season.