Throughout the pre-draft process there’s a lot of chatter about must-have prospects that fall into the can’t-miss category. Typically, there are only 3-5 “can’t miss” guys in every draft class, if that.
But what about on the flip side of things? Those must-avoid prospects? Every team has them, which is why it was interesting to see Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay release a piece for B/R Wednesday morning highlighting a “must avoid” prospect for all 32 teams.
Curiously, the Steelers’ “must avoid” prospect is one that is popularly connected to them as we draw closer and closer to the 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City. That would be Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks.
“The club should use the upcoming draft to build the offensive lineup to protect Kenny Pickett or provide him with more pass-catching talent to maximize his talents. While the team does have some defensive needs, an offensive selection would do more to help the Steelers achieve their potential on that side of the ball quickly,” Kay writes regarding the Steelers’ must-avoid prospect. “A selection like Deonte Banks—the Maryland corner who some analysts, such as NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, have landing in Pittsburgh—won’t have the same impact as an elite receiver or standout offensive tackle could at No. 17.
“With a pair of picks (Nos. 32 and 49) in Round 2, the Steelers should wait to bolster their secondary or deal with their other defensive concerns.”
The Steelers would do well to continue building around Pickett, who closed his rookie season in strong fashion, showing flashes of being that franchise-caliber quarterback for the Black and Gold. An offensive tackle and another offensive weapon would do wonders for Pittsburgh, but those shouldn’t come at the expense of greater needs on the roster, such as at cornerback.
With the first two picks of their draft, the Steelers should come away with an offensive tackle and a cornerback, no matter the order. There might not be a bigger need on the Steelers’ roster after the work GM Omar Khan and assistant GM Andy Weidl have done this offseason in free agency and via trade than cornerback.
The Steelers reportedly “love” Banks, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, though it’s interesting that Khan and head coach Mike Tomlin did not attend his Pro Day. Neither did defensive backs coach Grady Brown nor defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
As far as Banks being a prospect the Steelers “must avoid” though, that seems like a major stretch.
Banks is prototypical boundary CB, having the size and length (6001, 197 pounds, 31 3/8-inch arms) along with the thick build and physicality to jam receivers at the LOS and aid in run support. The Baltimore native only had two interceptions in college, but his athletic profile is extremely intriguing.
Along with prototypical size and length, Banks clocked a 4.35 40-yard dash at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, along with a 42-inch vertical and an 11’4″ broad jump. Insane numbers.
In college, Banks played in 30 games and finished with 83 tackles, 13 passes defensed and two interceptions. He added one blocked kick. The production doesn’t scream first-round talent, but the tape shows a guy who was rarely targeted in the passing game due to his ability to jam receivers and completely shut down one side of the field.
Banks might not be worth the 17th overall pick in a deep cornerback class, but the Steelers would be very fortunate to see him still on the board at No. 32 overall.