Giants’ young 1st round cornerback has assumed top dog role

nfl: washington commanders at new york giants, deonte banks
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants started the 2023 season with Adoree Jackson as their primary cornerback, actually moving him inside to the slot to see if he could adjust. Unfortunately, Jackson struggled to find a groove, eventually losing the job to Cor’Dale Flatt, who’s been solid over the past few weeks.

Having missed a bit of time due to a neck injury this season, Jackson was supplanted as the top corner on the team. 2023 first-round pick Deonte Banks has taken the top dog role, guarding opposing teams’ number one receivers recently. This season, the 22-year-old rookie out of Maryland has played 671 snaps, giving up 557 yards in coverage, including three touchdowns, collecting two interceptions, and five past breakups. He’s allowed a 57.3% reception rate, posting some excellent games, specifically over the past two weeks. Banks gave up just 44 yards in coverage, collecting an interception and allowing one score. His run defense has been adequate for the most part, but his tackling has been suspect at times, giving up a 14% missed tackle rate and collecting 38 total.

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The Giants Have a Lot Riding on Deonte Banks

A primary reason the Giants drafted Banks was due to his athletic upside. He was the number one ranked corner via athletic score in the 2023 NFL draft and also ranked in the top 10 over the past decade. His elite speed, with a 4.35 40-yard dash and good frame at 6-foot and 205 pounds, makes him a high-upside corner moving forward. He has the mentality of a winner and continuously desires to go up against elite receivers, which is a good way for him to gain experience and develop his technique.

He’s had some difficult contests, notably against CeeDee Lamb and the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10 and Davante Adams in Week 9 when he gave up 110 yards against the Raiders. He struggled a bit against Garrett Wilson, picking up two pass breakups but allowing 100 yards in coverage.

Ultimately, Banks needs to go through these hurdles to reach his peak potential, but he’s already showing flashes of excellence, and the Giants are keen on his future growth as a CB1.

With Jackson expected to hit free agency after the season, that will leave Banks and Tre Hawkins to the outside. Hawkins didn’t play against the New England Patriots but featured in 53 snaps against the Washington Commanders, giving up 39 yards. He’s allowed 253 yards and two touchdowns this season, putting together some good games and showcasing quality tackling, side from one outlier against the San Francisco 49ers, when he missed two tackles.

Hawkins’ development as a six-round pick is necessary, but the Giants view him as a potential solution. He will have an opportunity to win a starting job next year, but that shouldn’t preclude general manager Joe Schoen from investing a bit of money in a veteran corner that can help lock down the secondary.