Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Johnthan Banks Taking First Team Reps In Offseason Activities For The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

At some point earlier this year, Johnthan Banks was considered a first round pick and arguably the second best corner in the draft behind Dee Milliner. The rise of D.J. Hayden and Xavier Rhodes pushed him down the board, and combined with his unimpressive 40 yard dash time, Banks wound up being available to the Buccaneers with their first selection in the draft, despite trading away their first round pick to the New York Jets. He fit the bill in terms of what the Buccaneers look for as a player and as a person, and fills a need at corner on a defense that seemingly gave up a marathon’s worth of yards in the passing game in 2012.

I speculated a short while ago that Banks may not start at corner right away (and Eric Wright may not start at corner, either) as Johnthan learns the system and gets used to the speed of the NFL. But according to Pat Yasinskas of, Banks has been taking first team reps in OTA’s and working against Mike Williams, and “holding his own.” So what does this mean for the rookie corner?

He’s clearly benefitting from the absence of Darrelle Revis, and taking the chance to line up as the second corner as an opportunity to prove himself. The fact that he’s going up against Mike Williams proves he’s not being trotted out ahead of Eric Wright, but in a small way, it better simulates his likely starting position if he were to win the job this offseason. Darrelle Revis will almost certainly be matched up with the opposing team’s best receiver, meaning Banks will have to cover the second best receiver, and there are few number two receivers better than Mike Williams. Banks is gaining some very valuable experience that we may see translate into a strong resume to include in his application for the starting corner job alongside Darrelle Revis.

So what do you think, Bucs fans? Should Banks start from day one, and get the process started of moving away from Eric Wright? Or should the Buccaneers bring him along slowly and allow him to play as a nickel corner in 2013? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • RussMillerWY

    So early in OTAs, it’s hard to say whether this is meaningful, other than it shows they already have had an entire season to evaluate Leonard Johnson and now want to see what the new second round pick can do while helping him learn faster.

    I think it’s very likely that they’ll be trying to deal away Eric Wright. No one reduces a player’s salary by 80% and his contract length to 1 year because they’re eager to give him a second chance. They do things like that because, like with LeGarrette Blount, it makes him very easy to trade for a low draft pick. Not that they really need a low draft pick, but they want to get something for Wright besides the emotional satisfaction Schiano will have for getting rid of him and the embarrassment Dominik has felt for having overpaid for him (now mostly assuaged, anyway, by the salary cut). They’re just waiting for proof of Revis’s full recovery, and perhaps another team to show an obvious need for a corner, before putting the wheels in motion.

  • Alexander Taylor

    I don’t know what the chances of keeping Wright are really. We wouldn’t give him the type of contract he had at first but I wouldn’t mind him staying on for cheaper if possible.

    I see no real reason to stick Banks out there if Wright earns the job, even as a number 3 Banks will get plenty of playing experience so he will be ready in that aspect if we deal Wright out.

    I say give it to the best man. I assume it will be Wright and Revis with Banks coming in and covering the outside man in the Nickel.