Jonathan Banks figures to be a first round pick in Aprils NFL Draft. Photo Courtesy HailState.com
Jonathan Banks capped off his four years at Mississippi State with the highest honor a defensive back can receive: the Jim Thorpe Award. Banks won the award after his 2012 campaign saw him intercept four passes, make 59 tackles and force a fumble.
Banks has nine interceptions and over 120 total tackles during the past two seasons at Mississippi State. He was named to the AP Second Team All-SEC in 2011 and was an unanimous choice for First Team All-SEC in 2012. Banks has seen significant playing time since his freshman season and has been a full-time starter at Mississippi State for the past three seasons.
Run Support - Banks is unusually active in run support for a cornerback. Unlike some defensive backs, Banks looks for and embraces contact. Banks is fast off the snap and is able to get into the backfield quickly, while staying disciplined in his role.
Tackling - To go along with run defense, Banks is a very solid tackler. He uses his hands and arms to wrap up wide receivers and running backs. Banks is also very active at stripping the football, forcing four fumbles over the past two seasons.
Athleticism - Playmaker is one word to describe Banks. He returned punts at Mississippi State, averaging over 10 yards per return in 2011 and taking one back for a touchdown. Another upside to Banks is that he played safety early in his career in Starkville. Banks is very good at jump balls and going up to get the ball at its highest point while in coverage.
Cover Skills - Banks is a little raw in coverage. There are some plays he finds himself out of position and having to makeup bad coverage with his speed. Banks needs improvement in changing directions and relies too much on his athleticism to make up for blown coverages.
Patrick Peterson (ARI) - Just like when Peterson left LSU in 2011, Jonathan Banks needs work with his coverage skills. Also like Peterson, Banks returns punts and is extremely athletic. Although whichever team drafts Banks will have to experience his growing pains, he will come in and make an immediate impact on special teams, but will need time to improve his coverage skills.