Maryland CB Deonte Banks linked to AFC teams in latest mock drafts

The 2023 NFL Draft is now less than three weeks away as former Maryland star Deonte Banks remains in position to become a first round pick.

Cornerback Deonte Banks was projected to the Cincinnati Bengals with the 28th overall pick in ESPN’s latest mock draft. NFL.com was more bullish on the Edgewood native with two mock drafts placing him higher with Daniel Jeremiah projecting Banks to the Jaguars with the 24th pick, while Bucky Brooks has Banks slotted to come off the board with the 17th pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Banks was also among the Steelers’ top-30 visitors on Tuesday.

“I don’t really get into the mock drafts. I’m just blessed to be able to be mocked as a first round draft pick,” Banks said during last week’s pro day. Still, Banks has become a mainstay in the first round ever since draft buzz picked up after the regular season as the Maryland native has drawn interest from NFL scouts dating back to the start of the 2021 season.

“I think a lot of it has to do with the athleticism which was something that you saw at the NFL combine with him and [Jakorian] Bennett. I think we did a story, were they the most athletic pair of teammates at the combine ever because they just absolutely crushed it,” CBS Sports NFL Draft analyst Kyle Stackpole said. “They were both top three in almost every category, every single drill. I think that just confirmed that he has the athletic skillset and then on tape you can see the physicality, he’s a good tackler—he only missed one tackle last year.”

Banks has a chance to become the first Maryland defensive back selected in the first round since Darnell Savage was drafted with the 21st pick by the Packers in 2019. Banks was the lone prospect to not participate during Maryland’s pro day after stealing headlines at the NFL Combine last month.

“I did everything at the [NFL] combine,” Banks added. “I’m just ready to strap a lot of top receivers and I feel like I can do it.” Banks finished in the top five in nearly every category after posting a 4.35 in the 40, 42-inch vertical and 11-foot-4 broad jump at the combine.

Banks was one of seven players from Maryland invited to the combine, the most players in attendance since at least 1987. Banks registered nine pass break-ups and an interception, while not allowing a reception of over 30 yards when targeted during his junior season. According to Pro Football Focus, Banks allowed only a 43.3-percent completion percentage when targeted this year by opposing offenses (26-for-60), the 18th-best mark in the nation and second-best in the Big Ten. Banks signed with Maryland as a three-star prospect in the 2019 class.

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