In the last eight NFL Drafts, the Ohio State Buckeyes have produced seven first-round cornerbacks — Jeff Okudah, Damon Arnette, Denzel Ward, Marshon Lattimore, Gareon Conley, Eli Apple, and Bradley Roby. They laid claim to no first-round CBs in 2021, so naturally, they’re due for one soon. Can Sevyn Banks be the next Ohio State CB to go in the early rounds of the NFL Draft? How does Banks’ scouting report match up with other cornerbacks in the class?
Sevyn Banks NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Ohio State
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 200 pounds
Sevyn Banks Scouting Report
Already, it’s clear that the 2022 NFL Draft’s cornerback class will be a competitive one. Players like Derek Stingley Jr., Kaiir Elam, and Ahmad Gardner are the early favorites, but players like Andrew Booth, Trent McDuffie, and Sevyn Banks have first-round aspirations as well.
Banks, in particular, has a lot to live up to. The line of Buckeyes’ CBs before him is a long one, and Banks being a former top-55 recruit, has always boasted promise. That promise was easily visible on his 2021 tape, but so too were the potential areas for improvement for the Ohio State CB. What does Banks’ NFL Draft scouting report showcase at this point? Let’s take a look.
Banks’ athletic profile
In a class with Stingley, Elam, and Booth, Banks might be the best raw athlete of the bunch. That is not a statement to take lightly. In high school, Banks ran a 4.5 40-yard dash and logged a near 42-inch vertical jump. He’s since grown an inch, put on 20 pounds, and further developed his physical skill set.
Now, Banks stands at 6’1″, 200 pounds, and he hasn’t lost a step athletically. He has above-average length and a strong build, but his mobility is what stands out the most. Banks glides across the field, and he’s an incredibly sudden, explosive athlete. He has the lateral explosion to correct angles quickly. He also has the closing burst not only to impact the catch process but to gain ground in pursuit after the catch.
The Ohio State CB isn’t a simple straight-line athlete, either. He’s also naturally fluid to the highest degree. Banks’ hips flip with ease; he can open up his torso in an instant. He’s exceptionally smooth transitioning from his backpedal to downfield tracking, and he has the speed to stick to receivers’ hip pockets downfield as well.
Banks plays low and naturally sinks his hips when changing directions. This natural, effortless mobility provides him with an excellent physical foundation at CB.
Execution beyond the physical traits
Banks is an awesome physical talent, but aspects of his game beyond those traits also generate some appeal. When Banks is in position, he’s a relatively sure tackler. He’s also fairly proficient at disengaging blocks in run defense, and his natural twitch can make him tough to handle.
In pass coverage, Banks plays with energy, and he’s often physical at the route stem. He can still learn how to better channel this physicality, but he’s not a passive player when faced with contact situations. The Ohio State CB shows flashes of instincts and route recognition. When he reads the play correctly, he has the explosiveness and long speed to capitalize beautifully.
Banks appears to make an effort at being aware of the quarterback’s intentions. He often has his eyes pointed toward the center. However, as is often the case for cornerbacks, there’s a lot of information to balance in a short time frame between the QB’s intentions and the receiver’s location. Banks can do a better job balancing this information. More on that below.
Areas for improvement
The upside is immense with Banks as an NFL Draft prospect. Yet, even in spite of his rare athletic profile, Banks has the trademark inconsistency of a young player still developing on the college stage, especially against higher-level opponents like Alabama.
Many of the issues stem from Banks’ operational process through the play. In zone and off-man coverage, the Ohio State CB can be late to react to in-breaking routes, and he can also be indecisive. There’s sometimes a disconnect between him identifying a play and reacting to that information. He occasionally becomes flat-footed and tentative when reading plays. This impacts his ability to respond in a timely manner.
At the line, Banks can lose his balance when jamming in press. Moreover, he gives too much cushion and can overshoot angles in the open field. On top of these notes, Banks can clean up his technique in contested situations.
There’s room for improvement with his hand coordination and his positioning at the catch point. Banks has the length and explosiveness to be incredibly disruptive, but his process can better channel his traits.
Sevyn Banks’ NFL Draft scouting report overview
Banks is a stellar athlete with great size at 6’1″ and 200 pounds. Compared to other high-level athletes like Elam and Stingley, Banks is just as explosive, and also shows flashes of fluidity. Banks has some of the best long speed in the class, and he negates receiver separation with his closing burst.
Having said that, while other CB prospects embolden their athleticism with confidence and quick reaction ability, Banks has a lot of room for improvement, mentally. He had flashes of route recognition in 2020. Thus far in 2021, however, he hasn’t seen the field often. And when he has, he hasn’t been sharp.
If he can become more confident in what he sees and more proactive overall, Banks can be a stellar playmaker. As of now, however, most of his appeal rests in unrealized upside. There’s still time for him to close out the year on a high note, but Banks looks more like a Day 3 pick than a Round 1 player.
Sevyn Banks’ Player Profile
Like every player, Banks’ name rests on the back of his jersey, in the middle third, between the shoulder pads. But his name is on his jersey in more than one way. Ever since he was little, playing on Pop Warner rosters, the Ohio State CB has donned the No. 7. It makes him that much more noticeable on the field. And in a way, it forces him to be better because everyone knows exactly who he is.
Of course, no one had to force Banks to be better. His mother imbued in him a thirst for perfection, and from an early age, he simply was. Banks followed his brother, current 49ers safety Marcell Harris, up through the ranks in football.
By his sophomore year, he was a highly-regarded high school prospect. An ACL tear ahead of his junior season complicated matters, but Banks didn’t hang his head. Instead, he fought through the injury, intent on coming back stronger.
Banks’ determination led him to the other side of the tunnel, and he indeed came back stronger than before. He capped off his high school career with a strong senior season, riding that campaign to a top ranking in the 2018 recruiting class. A four-star recruit and the 55th-ranked player on ESPN’s board, Banks accepted the chance to play CB for Ohio State over schools like Florida, LSU, and Notre Dame.
Banks’ career at Ohio State and NFL Draft ascension
To this point, Banks’ Ohio State career has been exactly what his high school career was — more of a winding journey than a case of immediate gratification.
Banks avoided a redshirt in Year 1 by playing in five games but didn’t make a tangible impact on defense. However, his role grew in 2019 when he became a rotational defender behind Okudah and Arnette. That year, he picked up 11 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, an interception, and 3 pass deflections.
2019 was an adequate tune-up for Banks’ 2020 season, in which he took over a starting job from Okudah and Arnette, who both left for the NFL in the 2020 NFL Draft. Banks had a fine 2020 campaign, accumulating 23 tackles, 6 pass deflections, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Nevertheless, it seemed as though the best was yet to come for the senior. And no one would tell you that before Banks himself.
Banks’ NFL Draft scouting report provides the Ohio State CB with an avenue for further improvement. By now, he’s already proven that he’s an elite physical specimen. And through his ACL injury in high school, he demonstrated that he could fight through adversity early in his life. 2021 has already struck Banks with that same adversity. Can he work through it and realize his full potential?
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