With the 25th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the New York Giants added a significant amount of talent to their secondary by selecting University of Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks.
Despite starting the draft with the 25th overall pick, the Giants felt the need to move up one spot to select Banks. In order to do so, they traded pick No. 25, pick No. 160, which is a fifth-round pick, and pick No. 240, which is a seventh-round pick.
TRADE ALERT: Giants trade up to the No. 24 overall pick!
The Jaguars receive picks 25, 160 and 240. #NFLDraft
— NFL (@NFL) April 28, 2023
Trading up was always a possibility heading into the draft due to the fact that the Giants had an abundance of picks to work with. The week before the draft, New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen said, “If there’s somebody we want to move up for, we have some extra draft capital to do that.”
Obviously, Banks was one of the players that they wanted, and Schoen admitted after the pick that “the way the board fell, we were getting depleted.” With multiple players they Giants liked getting taken by other teams, the team was worried about missing out on their targets so the best course of action was to move up to get their guy.
While many people assumed that the Giants would use their first-rounder to address their offense, either with the selection of a wide receiver or offensive linemen, the value of getting Banks at pick 25 was simply too good for the Giants to pass up on.
“The guy’s a prototype from a size standpoint,” explained Schoen. “He’s athletic. He’s physical. He can run. He ran 4.32 [40-yard dash] at the Combine… He’s been a four-year starter who was hurt a year ago, but he played a lot of ball there at Maryland, and schematically he’s a good fit.”
At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Banks is a big, physical corner who attacks the football with aggression and was trusted to cover top receivers this past season at Maryland. He also moves well in and out of his breaks for a player his size and should be able to match up against receivers at the next level with his elite athleticism.
RD 1 | PK 24 – Giants: Deonte Banks CB, Maryland
Banks earned the 4th-highest athleticism score (98) of any cornerback prospect over the last decade after recording a 4.35 forty-yard dash, 11-foot-4 broad jump and 42-inch vertical at this year's combine. pic.twitter.com/kSqnmzYtYl
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) April 28, 2023
This season, Banks started all 12 games for the Terrapins, making 25 tackles and picking off one pass.
The lack of interceptions has been a bit of a criticism against Banks but isn’t one that worries the Giants.
“He was around the ball quite a bit,” said Giants head coach Brian Daboll. “There were a lot of pass breakups. He can match receivers.”
While Banks can sometimes be overly aggressive, he has improved tremendously over the last few years, cleaning up issues with his technique and becoming a more consistent football player. That ability to adapt and learn, plus the physicality to handle the strength of NFL receivers was likely appealing to Schoen.
“Banks was a guy that we liked and we spent a lot of time with, so we’re excited to get him,” said Schoen.
In the modern NFL, with offenses usually featuring three or four talented receiving options, adding a talented player opposite starting cornerback Adoree’ Jackson makes sense. Just in their own division, the Giants have to compete against the Eagles’ combination of DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown and the Cowboys’ duo of CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup.
With Minnesota adding Jordan Addison to Justin Jefferson, Seattle adding Jaxon Smith-Njigba to Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, and San Francisco bringing back the pair of Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, it’s clear that the Giants needed to bolster their secondary in order to keep the offenses of other NFC contenders in check.
“I don’t think you can ever have enough good corners,” said Giants head coach Brian Daboll. “It’s a passing league, and we have a tough division.”
The Giants are hoping that Deonte Banks can be a piece that helps put them over the top in that division, but he’s going to have to earn his shot.
“[Cornerback is] one of the hardest positions in football,” said Schoen. “You’re moving backwards, away from the ball, trying to cover elite athletes. So it’s one of the most difficult positions, I think, in the NFL… Everybody is going to come and compete. Nobody is going to be given anything, so he’s going to have to come in and earn his stripes. He’s got a lot to learn in terms of scheme and our defense, so we’re looking forward to getting here and getting to go work.”