Commanders get secondary boost in The Draft Network mock

(Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports) Deonte Banks
(Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports) Deonte Banks /

The Washington Commanders got themselves a welcome boost within the secondary in the latest mock draft published by The Draft Network.

It’s been an unspectacular start to free agency for the Washington Commanders. They were never expected to be big hitters during the process, which has become synonymous with Ron Rivera’s time as head coach and represents a complete change in culture from the rash spending of previous years.

Washington’s spent its available resources wisely. They’ve managed to get a few starters into the building and bolstered depth within key positions groups, which should stand them in good stead ahead of the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft, where they have eight selections to utilize currently.

The Commanders have multiple needs right now. Much will depend on how the draft board plays out, but it would be a shock if a franchise left tackle or shutdown cornerback weren’t seriously considered at No. 16 overall.

Commanders select Deonte Banks in The Draft Network’s latest mock

This is a sentiment echoed by Brentley Wisseman of The Draft Network, who had the Commanders taking gifted cornerback Deonte Banks in his latest first-round mock.

"“Deonte Banks is a fast riser who had an outstanding NFL Combine but also has excellent film. He fills a big need for the Commanders and helps solidify this secondary.”"

Banks is currently riding on the crest of a wave after a sensational final college season at Maryland. Something he’s backed up with some phenomenal testing scores at the NFL Scouting Combine to further enhance his stock.

There’s plenty to like about Banks when examining his production and overall approach. He anticipates routes extremely well, has the speed to go downfield with any wide receiver, and also boasts the size and length normally associated with the modern-day NFL cornerback.

This also allows Banks to pack some punch into his tackles, which should suit Jack Del Rio’s system down to the ground. He is also assured in press coverage, which is something the Commanders don’t have in their cornerback room currently.

Banks’ arrival could provide the defensive coordinator with more options within his zone-based coverage system. While the prospect hasn’t excelled in a zone scheme previously, additional development can arrive once he receives NFL-caliber coaching throughout the preparation period.

While others such as Christian Gonzalez and Joey Porter Jr. represent better options, the chances of either being around by No. 16 look remote. Banks is not a bad consolation prize by any stretch of the imagination and could become the high-class corner Washington has craved for years.

Obviously, if a premier blindside protector such as Broderick Jones or Paris Johnson Jr. falls into their laps, it’s a different story. But there’s no doubt Banks should be on the shortlist as everything is coming together for the player at just the right time.

A cornerback foursome of Kendall Fuller, Benjamin St-Juste, Cameron Dantzler Sr., and Banks should more than hold their own. Especially considering the strength of Washington’s defensive front that’s getting Chase Young back from injury and also has Daron Payne long-term after his recent lucrative contract extension.

In the pass-happy world that the NFL has become in recent years, no team can ever have enough cornerbacks capable of consistent performances on the biggest stage.

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