2023 NFL Draft

Peter King: Watch For The Steelers To Draft Maryland CB Deonte Banks

Peter King published his final mock draft Monday and while he gave the team Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, what he wrote below it is far more interesting. In his weekly Football Morning In America column for Pro Football Talk, King gave the old college try to predict 1-31. At 17, he gave the Steelers a receiver but nearly contradicted himself in his analysis.

“This is about where the receivers will start getting picked, and I’d be surprised if the Steelers weren’t seriously considering one to pair long-term with George Pickens. Corner’s another position the Steelers could favor here, and watch for Maryland’s Deonte Banks if that’s the call.”

Smith-Njigba is looking less likely to make it to #17 and the odds of him coming to Pittsburgh are even lower. Not impossible, mind you, and he checks the box of having Mike Tomlin/Omar Khan at his Pro Day, but after the Allen Robinson trade and the Steelers’ focus elsewhere, receiver is lower on the team’s priority.

Instead, King tucks in a reference to Banks in his final sentence. And he isn’t the first. Jason La Canfora made reference to it earlier this month. Perhaps King is going off some of that information; he’s done more speculating than reporting this draft cycle, but the information is worth passing along.

The Steelers are almost guaranteed to take a cornerback with one of their first two picks, either 17 or 32 (assuming they don’t trade, which is looking more and more likely). They have shown interest in Banks, a somewhat raw but physical cornerback with A+ athleticism who defends the deep ball as well as any cornerback in the class. While the team wasn’t well represented at his Pro Day, Banks also didn’t workout. Perhaps that knowledge beforehand caused the Steelers not to send any top-level personnel. Instead, Banks came in for a pre-draft visit at the team facility.

If Pittsburgh goes cornerback over offensive tackle, Banks seems to be the favorite to be the Steelers’ pick. The question is whether or not the team will choose a corner over an offensive tackle knowing how deep the corner class is compared to tackle, which falls off quickly. Of course, the top tackles could be off the board by #17, directing Pittsburgh to a cornerback, and someone like Banks. For what it’s worth, King has Banks going one pick after the Steelers, 18th overall to Detroit, and it’s highly unlikely Banks would be there at #32.

You can check our pre-draft report on Banks below.

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