Deonte Banks officially signs, Rakim Jarrett drawing intrigue

Maryland’s latest first-round product has officially signed in the NFL.

Deonte Banks, the Giants’ first-round pick, signed his four-year, $13.6 million fully guaranteed rookie deal on Thursday with a fifth-year option available to the team. The Edgewood product was projected as a first-round pick ever since the 2022 season ended before becoming the fourth cornerback selected in the 2023 NFL Draft, along with the third Maryland defensive back selected in the third round or higher since 2019. With teams like Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Washington all projected at time to take Banks, it would be the Giants who traded into the 24th pick to add the former Maryland product.

“Couldn’t believe how it fell. I thought you were going to Baltimore,” defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said. “Thank God they signed Lamar [Jackson], had to get him some weapons.”

Now, Banks will get a chance to start as the second cornerback in Martindale’s defense opposite of Adoree’ Jackson.

“I think it starts with his size,” Locksley recently said about the 6-foot-2, 205-pound corner. “When you look at the receivers that are really having a lot of success in the NFL, there are a lot of big guys that are outside on that island. Typically tall, long athletic guys, struggle to play on that island. But Deonte is one of those guys that has the length that you like, whether it’s the arm length, the height, but he also has the feet and the ability to play like a little guy. And so to me, the athleticism, the ability to play man cover, and I think probably his biggest trait or skill set trait that I’ve always really been most impressed with is his ability to forget a bad play.

Maryland’s other cornerback, Jakorian Bennett, remains among the last unsigned rookies for the Las Vegas Raiders while new Buccaneers wide receiver Rakim Jarrett signed a deal that includes $225,000 guaranteed as a UDFA. Both Dontay Demus and Jacob Copeland also agreed to terms with the Ravens and Titans, respectively, as they look to jumpstart their NFL careers, but Jarrett was recently highlighted as one of the ten most intriguing UDFA signings in the NFC South.

[Jarrett] has played primarily in the slot, where Gage and Godwin have been used extensively, and would likely have to show a value on special teams to stick on the 53. The Bucs drafted speedy Trey Palmer from Nebraska and added a veteran this week in former Seahawks receiver David Moore, but there should be one spot open for a young developmental receiver on the 53.

Jarrett will look to catch on in Tampa as they turn the page from Tom Brady, but the former Maryland wideout will look to leave his mark to become the latest Terp wideout in the NFL this fall.

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