courtesy of Michael Horan
The player most in need of a positive performance against Cleveland to avoid the chopping block is probably Johnthan Banks (though Kenny Bell has an argument). The former second round pick has cascaded down the depth chart throughout the off-season and has been relegated mostly to the third team.
Banks was thrilled when Lovie Smith was let go and it was widely believed that a new coaching staff could return him to the form of his rookie and sophomore season. Unfortunately for Banks he’s still plagued by the same movement limitations and inconsistency that got him benched previously. Banks recorded an interception last game versus Philadelphia and in training camp has occasionally flashed the talent that got him drafted highly, but he’s been unable to separate himself from newcomer Josh Robinson. A solid game versus Cleveland would go a long way towards carving out one of the last cornerback spots.
The player that needs to have a break-out game in order to stay on the team is Johnthan Banks. Banks has been the fifth wheel in the secondary this season. Personally before the beginning of OTAs and even the draft I thought Banks was going to be the leader of the secondary and now he’s barely getting in preseason games. No offense to Jude Adjei-Barimah but he wasn’t an award-winning corner in college at the SEC level.
Yes, Banks did have an interception last game but it was against a third string quarterback that probably won’t make the team and it practically fell in his hands. He’s still the only corner over six feet on the Bucs and in a division with receivers like Julio Jones and Kelvin Benjamin the Bucs need as much height as they can get.
Banks is on the cusp of making the roster and he was a second round pick a few years ago. He can either prove his worth or not be a Buccaneer much longer. I don’t think the Bucs would out right cut him though he does have some value so a trade for a late round pick could be the scenario. I want him to succeed the Bucs need players and solid depth at a position that was horrible last year, but if Banks just wants to “have fun,” then he is not Bucs’ material.
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