Buccaneers ink top draft pick Johnthan Banks to 4-year deal
Banks was the Buccaneers’ top 2013 draft pick, being selected with the 43rd overall pick in the second round by the team. The Buccaneers did not draft a player in the first-round after trading their 11th overall pick with the New York Jets for cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Although the exact value of Banks’ contract were not immediately known, according to the negotiating parameters set by the collective bargain agreement his deal should be worth slightly more than last year’s No. 43rd overall pick. Stephen Hills, who was selected with that pick in the 2012 NFL draft by the New York Giants, signed to a $5 million contract with $2.9 million in guarantees.
The 23-year-old Banks posted impressive numbers as the Bulldogs’ cornerback, recording 16 interceptions (with three returned for touchdowns), 221 tackles and four sacks during his collegiate career. His 16 career interceptions also tied for a school record at Mississippi State.
As a senior, Banks was recipient for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back and was also named first-team All- America after posting 63 tackles and four interceptions while starting all games in the 2011 season for the Bulldogs. Over four years at Mississippi State, Banks started 45 of 51 career games for the Bulldogs.
The Bucs revamped their defense this offseason after they nearly set a record in passing yards allowed last season. Banks is expected to compete during training camp for playing time in the Tampa Bay secondary hopefully starting opposite Revis, or at the minimum see time at nickelback while cornerback Eric Wright mans the outside.
"I'm not going to put myself out there like that," Banks said of his chances of becoming strating off the bat in the Buccaneers’ secondary despite the team’s apparent confidence in his abilities and maturity to develop into one of NFL’s top cornerbacks. "I'm coming in here willing to work hard — special teams, defense — and do anything I can to help."
While Banks’ relatively slower 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combine did account for some concern. But the Buccaneers instead seem invested in Johnthan Banks’ versatility as well aggressive style. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Banks too believes he will be able to manage things in the pass-happy NFC South after routinely being used to cover opponents' top receivers while at Mississippi State.
"I played in the SEC four years,” said Banks. “I played against Cordarrelle Patterson, who runs a 4.47, and he didn't really do anything against me. ... I think I have good game speed."
Banks is the fifth-draft pick of the 2013 draft class to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Only quarterback Mike Glennon (third-round pick) remains unsigned.