Johnthan Banks Scouting Report: NFL Outlook for the Mississippi State CB

Jon DoveContributor IApril 24, 2013

STARKVILLE, MS - OCTOBER 13:  Defensive back Johnthan Banks #13 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs looks to the sidelines for a play during their game against the Tennessee Volunteers on October 13, 2012 at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
Butch Dill/Getty Images

Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks can best be described as a football player. This is an aggressive kid who is always working to make a game-changing play. His draft stock took a bit of a hit after he ran a less than impressive 40-time at the combine, but this only means someone will get a steal.

Banks is the type of prospect where evaluators will get a better feel for his potential by watching film rather than looking at workout numbers.

Strengths Weaknesses
+ Balance - Versatility
+ Aggressiveness - Top-End Speed
+ Instincts  


Height: 6’2”   

Weight: 185 pounds   

Arm Length: 33 7/8”   

40-yard dash: 4.61 seconds

Intangibles: Banks is an aggressive player who appears to want the ball more than anybody else on the field. He shows a knack for getting his hands on the ball and stripping it from the ball carrier. This ability to generate turnovers is highly-regarded in NFL circles.

Playing the Ball: A defensive back’s ball skills are a key factor in determining his value as a player. Banks features the skills needed to read developing routes, track the ball in the air and appropriately time his jump. His long arms also help attack the ball at its highest point.

The image below shows Banks fighting for position and using his hands to knock the ball away from the receiver.

Against the Run/Tackling: Playing an aggressive brand of football is a major part of Banks’ game. He isn’t afraid to support the run or take on blockers. His ability to read the run keys also helps him get a good break towards the line of scrimmage.

The clip below shows Banks setting the edge against the run. On this play, the running back was forced back inside where the defensive linemen and linebackers were able to make the play. Setting the edge is a major part of a cornerback’s run responsibilities.

Banks’ support of the run isn’t flawless, as he needs to do a better job breaking down and remaining under control when attempting to make a tackle.

Man coverage: Banks does a great job getting his hands on the receiver at the line of scrimmage and employing a trail technique. His long arms help him disrupt the timing of the offense and keep the receiver within his range.

He does get into some trouble when the wideout is able to get a clean release. Banks lacks the speed needed to run with the quicker players at the next level, which really limits his upside to fit a man-oriented system.

Zone: A zone-heavy attack is where Banks will be able to get the most use of his skill set. While he might lack long speed, he features good short-area quickness. This allows him to effectively click and close in on the football. His explosive first step is even more effective because he plays with balance and possesses good instincts.

The below image shows Banks keeping a low backpedal while reading the route. He really has a great feel for the plays developing around him.

Technique: As I mentioned above, Banks finds a lot of his success because he’s committed to using proper technique. His low pad level helps him remain balanced throughout the play. This balance is why he can quickly shadow the ball and mirror a wide receiver’s route.

Future Role/Versatility: Banks' future in the NFL is likely in a zone-system where he can use his instincts and quickness to break on the ball. Because of his aggressiveness and physical play, he could potentially make the move to safety.

However, I’d love to see him in a tampa-2 attack like the Chicago Bears have run in recent years.

Draft Position: Second Round