Commanders select ‘cult’ cornerback in CBS Sports 2023 NFL mock draft

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

After developing a cult following throughout the evaluation process, Deonte Banks was taken by the Washington Commanders in CBS Sports’ latest mock draft.

Excitement and speculation are reaching incredible levels as the 2023 NFL Draft draws closer. What conclusions the Washington Commanders make will go a long way to determining how successful they can become when competitive games arrive this fall.

From the outside looking in, the Commanders have a roster capable of being competitive. If either Sam Howell or Jacoby Brissett provide much-needed stability at the quarterback position, it could be enough for Washington to potentially enter the NFC East championship picture if their top stars stay relatively clear of injury.

There are some areas of the team that need bolstering. And with almost no spare resources on their salary cap, filling these needs via the draft is the only way to enhance confidence before preparations for the upcoming campaign ramp up.

Commanders draft Deonte Banks in CBS Sports mock

One such position was the direction Tom Morinelli of CBS Sports went in his latest first-round mock draft. The writer had the Commanders picking Deonte Banks, who’s gaining significant momentum at just the right time and was preferred to Joey Porter Jr., who went to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the very next pick.

"“Deonte Banks has developed a cult following since his performance at the combine. He ran a 4.35 40 with a 42-inch vertical and 136-inch broad jump. He’s a tremendous athlete and uses it to recover from potential mistakes.”"

This would certainly fill a huge hole for the Commanders. Banks has the size, speed, and physicality to make an immediate contribution to a cornerback room that also includes Cameron Dantzler Sr., who was snapped up quickly off the waiver wire following his release by the Minnesota Vikings.

In addition to the former Maryland stud’s exciting coverage capabilities, he also thrives against the run. Banks brings ferocity and conviction with outstanding tackling and anticipation – something that seems tailor-made to thrive within Jack Del Rio’s scheme.

Banks has no trouble getting wideouts off their routes in press coverage. He’s even rangy enough to more than hold his own against physically-imposing tight ends if the situation dictates.

If there was a criticism of Banks’ production with the Terrapins, it’s an inability to covert turnover opportunities. The defensive back managed just two interceptions in four college seasons, which must improve to stand any chance of becoming a true shutdown presence in the pros.

Picking Banks over Porter is a controversial move, in all honesty. But nothing can be completely dismissed and the only people that truly know for sure are those trusted figures within the war room.

Considering how well the Commanders have utilized their first-round selections under the current regime, they’ve earned a level of trust no matter which direction becomes officially confirmed. If the pick is Banks, then fans have every right to expect an instant difference-maker capable of dramatically improving their pass defense right out of the gate.

And who knows, this could be the final piece that turns the Commanders’ defense into an elite force capable of wreaking havoc consistently.

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