The Buccaneers thought highly of second-round pick Johnthan Banks since last season. Both Greg Schiano and Mark Dominik raved not only about Banks talent of the football field, but also of his character.
Mark Dominik's opening statement:
“Exciting start for the night. Obviously we sat pat at 43 and turned in a card that we are very excited about. A couple of things that are very intriguing to us as an organization is, obvious a captain of his football team. 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.” Greg Schiano’s opening statement:
“Everything Mark has said, he really had a great description of him as a young man. We are very excited as a coaching staff. Dan Mullen his head coach at Mississippi State, a friend of ours, couldn’t say enough great things. Winner is the word that kept coming out of his mouth and we agree. His body of work is very, very impressive and, as Mark said, in the toughest conference in college football. So we can’t wait to get him here and he can’t wait to get here. That’s the best part.” Does this allow you to move Eric Wright to slot?
“Eric played inside in the nickel," Schiano said. "I think that all comes with competition. You let it play out. Whatever is best, and then you move the parts. But what we’ve been able to do is get the parts to move. To have them here and be able to do that and have that flexibility and that’s exciting.”
Was there a concern on his 40-time?
“He was always high on our board," Dominik said. "We went into the senior season and we already had good grades on him. He played well again this year to win the Jim Thorpe Award so he’s been a consistent football player. For us, the one thing people keep talking about – the speed – he did run at the combine his time, and 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, 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. So that was probably what helped us get him at 43.” Was this a best player available or a need?
“It was a combination," Dominik said. "He was our highest grade because we did like Johnthan Banks going into this draft, but certainly it was a position that we felt like we could continue to strength and wanted to continue to strengthen so it was a good combination for this pick.” What is it that he does that makes him such a good fit for your scheme?
He’s really, really diverse in what he does in their scheme," Schiano said. "And we ask our corners to do a lot, everything from press to bail, to bait and being off and rotating and he’s done all that and he’s shown he can do that. I really like the way he plays the game. As Mark said, he’s the captain and he was the guy who made their defense go. And you love that, especially in a corner. That doesn’t happen very often.What were some of the other things that made Banks attractive?
“I think you step back and look at the big picture," Dominik said. "Some of these players… we have letter grades assigned to medical, we have letter grades assigned to football character, to their personal character. And Johnthan Banks has fantastic grades at all three of these letters and that is very important to us as an organization. And then you take into account what he did at Mississippi State, being the Jim Thorpe Award winner, and then you look at the tape and the hands and the ball skill and then you look at the length. Yeah there are a lot of good corners, and we talked about this the other day that when I said there are a lot of quality players at this position so honesty is the best policy and that is how we felt with this thing. That is who Johnthan Banks is and I am excited for you all to meet him and get to know him, and I am excited for him to play football for the Buccaneers. Because I do think you are going to love him on and off the football field. But more on.” How unusual is it for a guy to be a Jim Thorpe award winner and not even be the first corner off his team?
“You know, [Darius Slay and Johnthan Banks] are both good corners,” Dominik said. “Everybody looks at everything differently, but we know that he was the captain of that team; he was the engine of it. We spent a lot of time researching that and making sure where we felt like, ‘What can he bring to the football team?" And he has the fortune to be able to learn under two professionals in Eric Wright and certainly Darrelle Revis with how to approach the game the right way. And we’re really excited to pair him up with Darrelle and our team and the rest of our locker room with the guys that we’re growing and how we’re developing the players right now in Tampa.”When did you think Banks could be a Buccaneer?
“Brian Hudspeth, the area scout, Eric Stokes and Dennis Hickey both went into the schools,” Dominik said. “We actually had at least three scouts make a school visit, I think four. But again, we had good spring grades coming out. And then every time a scout went into that organization, they came out and said, ‘This is a great guy and a great player.' And so every time he just checked the box and every one of our guys signed off. Generally, our draft room is pretty quiet and somber because we’re trying to do business. But when we took Johnthan Banks, because sometimes we don’t tell them exactly who we’re going to pick just to keep the intrigue because I like to test and see who they would take, quite frankly. But it erupted, and it hasn’t been a while since our draft room erupted like that, so that’s what we’re excited about.”Can you share how he felt when you told him he’d be a Buccaneer?
“He was thrilled,” Schiano said. “I mean he’s one of us, I can’t say it any better than that. This guy is going to fit right into our football team. Skill set, personality, character, and he was thrilled. His words were ‘I can’t wait to get there.' And I said ‘I can’t wait to have you here.”
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