Despite being less than two weeks from the 2023 NFL Draft, there is still a lot of uncertainty on what position group the Pittsburgh Steelers will address first. Cornerback and offensive tackle have been the two favorites so far, with both position groups seemingly alternating in each mock draft. Today in CBS Sports’ Kyle Stackpole’s new mock draft, he has the Steelers selecting an athletic cornerback.
At 17, Stackpole has the Steelers taking Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks, after Joey Porter Jr. went one spot ahead to the Washington Commanders.
“See: Commanders,” Stackpole wrote. “The Steelers need help on the backend, and Deonte Banks could grow into a big piece of that defense.”
Banks has been heavily linked to the Steelers in recent weeks, and a report from just the other day says the Steelers have a lot of interest in him. Despite not being the most productive cornerback — he only had two interceptions and eleven pass breakups in four years at Maryland — he really improved his senior year with eight pass breakups and one pick.
In addition to this improvement, Banks is an athletic freak who can play on the outside, something that it seems Pittsburgh wants. At 6’0″ 197 pounds and an arm length of 31 3/8″ he has the size and length to play outside and match up against bigger receivers like Ja’Marr Chase. Banks ranked as one of the most athletic corners as well, running a 4.35 40-yard dash and recording an impressive vertical jump of 42″.
Banks has all the traits you want as a cornerback and ranked pretty good by PFF this past season. He was given a 72.0 grade for his 2022 season when he allowed only 26 receptions and a passer rating of 71.4.
Since the NFL Combine, Banks has skyrocketed from an early Day Two pick to a middle Day One pick. If Porter Jr., Christian Gonzalez. and Devon Witherspoon are off the board by 17 and Banks is there, I really wouldn’t be surprised to see the Steelers take him.
To compete with the elite quarterbacks in the AFC you need to be able to cover. The Steelers need a potentially elite cornerback and Banks can be that. While he isn’t the consensus best cornerback in the draft class, Banks is damn good with the potential to be great.