2023 NFL Draft
Steelers Select Maryland CB Deonte Banks in Latest Mel Kiper Mock Draft
An ESPN draft guru has picked a somewhat surprising name for the Pittsburgh Steelers in his latest mock draft.
In the third version of Mel Kiper Jr.’s mock draft released on Tuesday, the Steelers selected cornerback Deonte Banks from Maryland at pick No. 17.
Banks is not generally seen as one of the top cornerbacks in the draft class, but has been rising up draft boards after an impressive performance at the 2023 NFL Combine, when he ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash.
A 6-foot, 197-pound senior from Baltimore, Banks showed elite athleticism at the combine in addition to his straight-line speed. His 42-inch vertical was the best among cornerbacks and his 11-foot-4 broad jump was second.
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Banks should be familiar to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. He was a teammate of Tomlin’s son Dino Tomlin at Maryland and they had a formal meeting at the 2023 NFL Combine.
Banks doesn’t have a ton of tape to go on. He made eight starts as a freshman in 2019, then Maryland played only five games due to COVID-19 in 2020. In 2021, he played the first two games before suffering a season-ending injury. In his senior season, he had 38 tackles, eight pass breakups and one interception, leaving his Terps career with just two takeaways.
That won’t compare him favorably to some in this class, despite his outsized athleticism, but the Steelers didn’t exactly get their top pick in the position in this scenario. Kiper sees a potential run on cornerbacks in the first round, with Christian Gonzalez (No. 7, Las Vegas Raiders), Devon Witherspoon (No. 8, Atlanta Falcons), Joey Porter Jr. (No. 14, New England Patriots) and Emmanuel Forbes (No. 16, Washington Commanders) all off the board ahead of the Steelers pick.
The board that Kiper had set up for the Steelers was not a favorable one. Not only were the cornerbacks all taken, all three top tackles and defensive tackle Lukas Van Ness had also already been taken.
The players Kiper left on the board by taking Banks were wide receivers Jordan Addison, Quentin Johnston, Zay Flowers, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and defensive tackles Bryan Bresee and Calijah Kancey.