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May 14, 2013 @ 9:40 am
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Bucs' Banks Maturity Impresses Dominik And Schiano

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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The Buccaneers went into the 2013 offseason with the main focus to rebuild the NFL's worst secondary. Tampa Bay added Dashon Goldson and Darrelle Revis prior to the draft, then with their first draft pick last month added CB Johnthan Banks. With the influx of talent, Tampa Bay may have turned a weakness into a major strength.
Since the arrival of head coach Greg Schiano in January of 2012 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have put an emphasis on bringing in players that have leadership capabilities. Several, like 2012 first round picks running back Doug Martin and safety Mark Barron, were captains of their college football teams, and in the 2013 draft that pattern continued with second-round selection cornerback Johnthan Banks.

While the Bucs liked the leadership that Banks provided during his four seasons at Mississippi State, Banks also possesses a maturity that Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik loved.

"A couple of things that are very intriguing to us as an organization is, obvious (Banks was) a captain of his football team,” Dominik said recently. “He’s a very mature young 23-year old, married with a little one. The Jim Thorpe winner and he played in one of the toughest leagues, the SEC, as a starter for more than 45 games.

“And he would take the No. 1 guy off every team and that’s a tough call, a tough road to hoe for a corner in the SEC. So we are obviously excited about not only with his skill set and his ability, but also with what he brings on and off the football field. He’s known as a great community guy as well and we’re really excited to bring him to our organization.”

Banks road to maturity started early as the East Webster High product suffered a difficult childhood.

“I come from a pretty hard background,” Banks said. “My dad was killed in a car accident and I was raised by my grandparents. My grandmother, she raised me in the church, I’m a Christian guy. I’m laid back; always try to keep a smile on my face. I always want to help others. God is number one in my life.”

Despite at one time thought to possibly be the second ranked corner in this season’s draft, then falling to the second round because of an unimpressive 40-time at the combine, Banks says that’s ok with him.

“(I’m) not at all [disappointed about going in the second round],” Banks said. “This is where I’ve always wanted to play. From the end of my junior season I wanted to play for Tampa. All the coaches were super nice to me at the combine. I’m just really ready to get out there and go to work.

“I feel like I’m a first round pick because I was the top pick here. All the fans have showed me a lot of love on Twitter and Facebook. I’m just happy to be here.”

One reason Banks is so excited about playing in Tampa is the opportunity to line up on the field with one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.

“It’s amazing [to be able to play with Darrelle Revis],” Banks said. “The day before I got picked by Tampa Bay I said, ‘It’s going to be crazy if I get to play with Revis.’ He’s the best corner in football. A young guy like me, who can learn a lot from this guy, and I think I’m a really good football player too. I could just elevate my game getting with a guy like Revis. I’ll talk to him and try to learn what he knows.”

As mentioned earlier, Banks saw his stock drop after an average 40-time (4.61) at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and also his Pro Day. But Banks, like the Buccaneers, don’t see that as an issue.

“My forty time, everybody can look at my tape,” Banks said. “My tape doesn’t lie, it speaks for itself. I think I have really good tape, I think I have really good game speed. I was in the SEC for four years. I played with Cordarelle Patterson, he had a 4.47 and he didn’t really do anything against me.

“I use my height to my advantage. I’m bigger and taller than most receivers. So I use my size to my advantage.”

Dominik also has no concerns over Banks’ speed.

“He ran a 4.55 at his pro day, but the one thing that was important for us as an organization as we watched him and the coaches watched him and the scouts watched him, is you never felt that – because he has such good instincts, such good length and such good ball skills – that you never felt that you were concerned about the deep speed," Dominik said. "Because you love the length of the player and the ball skills and when he had to push and shove and run to get into position. He did a great job of that.”

Banks doesn’t play with the proverbial “chip on his shoulder” but instead uses other factors to motivate him to excel.

“I have my son; I have a wife who means a lot to me,” Banks said. “They are very special. I’m just trying to enjoy life and live right. [My wife and son] motivate me. I always said if I ever had a kid and a wife I was going to make their life as easy as possible so they don’t have to struggle like I did.

“[Being a father] has made me take responsibility. I don’t want [my son] to ever have to suffer or anything. It really matured me a lot to take responsibility and to work that much harder to provide.”

Last modified on Tuesday, 14 May 2013 10:20

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  • avatar

    Hey Bucs Fans! Banks won the national award for the top CB in college. He can cover any wide receiver and knows the game well. He has great football speed because with his instincts he gets to where he needs to be to intercept the ball or knock it down. He doesn't have to have burner speed to be a great CB for us. He won't take plays off like our bad boy who we sent packing to New England--Talib, and he has good character. He will push the starters and could very well end up the second CB on the field all the time before this season is over. Our greatest CB, Rhonde Barber, who will be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame, was no burner either. He just had great instincts and great mental strength to push himself to be great. Great work ethic, great character, and I hope he will come back a coach for the Bucs backfield on defense. He will love watching Banks develop because he is so much like Rhonde, but bigger--he also likes to tackle and can play in the box too.
  • avatar

    Just stay with Colston and Jones and own the Red Zone. Ronde ran a 4.55 and did you know Sapp ran a 4.67 at around 300 pounds.
  • avatar

    I had had my fingers crossed for months for us to grab either Banks or Wreh-Wilson, who eventually went to TEN 3 picks before we grabbed Glennon. I've thought a lot about whether I would have preferred to have waited til the 3rd to trade a late pick to move up 5 spots or so and grab Wilson, who I think could have dominated in our system...but that's nitpicking. I love Banks - absolutely love him. He's gonna surprise some people when he starts on the outside in week 1. He'll be one of those guys that makes fans from other teams look back at the draft and go, "Dam, he was there in the second?!" much lime Lavonte David now. Love Banks, man...Richard Sherman (4.51) and Brandon Browner (4.63) ran slow 40s too, but in a system that asks for physicality from CBs, their lack of straight-line speed doesn't affect them too terribly.
  • avatar

    Banks will be fine he has faced NFL talent each week in the SEC and performed at an elite level in college. Bill Sheridan is the man im interested to see this year. I personally think with better schemes we could have had more wins last year and the game against ATL reflected that. He finally has the size and talent at CB that his blitz happy defense loves so lets see how it works this year. He has much more to prove than any player we drafted bc talented players mean nothing if the scheme stinks and last year it was awful for large stretches of the year.
  • avatar

    I was glad when he ran a slow 40, had he run a 4.4 he would've been out of our reach. Not having a 1st round pick, Dom crossed his fingers, and he fell to us in the 2nd round. The game is football, he did it in the SEC that's good enough for me.
  • avatar

    It isn't a track meet. There sure have been a lot of speed guys fail. Just ask Al Davis. True if they line up and wait for someone to yell "ready, set go" Banks may be at a disadvantage. But in football you have to know when to be "ready" what technique to "set" and where to "go" . The guys who possess cognitive speed often have greater success in this league. It's not like 4.5 is slow. Some of us just state the obvious answer like the commercial where they ask the group of kids, "Is it better to be fast or slow?" Better, but not the only criteria.
  • avatar

    There seems to be too much emphasis placed on the 40 at the combine. If a guy can run a 4.2 or 4.3, he's considered blazingly fast. But how fast is he with a helmet, pads and cleats. How does the adding weight effect his speed. If you want a true test of speed, put on a full pads, then run the 40. I'm willing to bet that there would be a significant difference. Although Banks may have run a 4.6 40, but what does that means on the football field. Another test: take the 10 best CBs in the league(and Banks) and time them in the 40 in full pads. Then see if he measures up. Jerry Rice is arguably the best WR in NFL history, yet he was one of the slowest.
  • avatar

    1. Faith 2. Family 3. Football, the 3 F´s. Was it said by D.Brooks or Dungy? @MrIncredible/nybuccguy: yep
  • avatar

    I have to say, I love the way Dom has revamped the secondary - worst to near first. In fact it's the only part of our team with depth too - behind the top 5 guys we still have some guys that can provide quality snaps. Now if Dom can just find us depth everywhere else....oh Michael Bennett where art thou!
  • avatar

    Mark, leadership and being a captain became a priority when Mark Dominik became GM 3 years prior to Schiano. PR had covered that extensively at the time. Also 4.6 is not "average" for a cornerback, it is below average and why Banks fell despite his great size and production. If 4.6 speed was average then you would see as many NFL corners running 4.7 and 4.8 as you do 4.5 and 4.4 and I can't think of a single NFL corner who clocked in the 4.8 range.
  • avatar

    You know who else had skinny toothpick legs? Kelen Winslow. I remember watching him at camps and thinking How in the world can he play with those legs. I was standing next to a guy with a gold toothpick who said he was a scout from the west coast who had come to check out the Bucs....anyhow, he said up close he looks bigger and more solid...maybe Banks looks like that up close and personal.
  • avatar

    I liked the pick of Banks.... But I keep seeing those skinny toothpick legs and keep thinking he's going to be injury prone.
  • avatar

    Young MR.BANKS look no further than #20 who did more with less size, than most any player in recent memory.And the man that will play across from you is another future Hall Of Famer.If you cant be successful with this learning opportunity you just arent trying. All the luck to you,be the best you can be.
  • avatar

    Im thinking that he will line up with julio jones when we play the falcons, and revis will take out white. Then we only have to contain an old tony gonzalez to eliminate their entire offense
  • avatar

    I thought that we should have used our 2nd round pick on a DT or DE, but if we had to pick a CB in the 2nd round I am glad it was Banks. I can see that the DB position has become our strength of Defense.
  • avatar

    Love his attitude. Can't wait for OTA's and camp.
  • avatar

    We'll have to see how well he can ball but he certainly seems like a genuinely good kid. Easy to root for this guy. I think Ronde ran a 4.66 40 time at the combine too, but this dude is like twice as tall as our Hall of Fame bound Mr. Barber. You never know.
  • avatar

    Straight line speed is vastly over-rated. I agree with Banks, the tape doesn't lie, he's going to be a very good corner for us for a very long time.
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