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2023 NFL Draft

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Giants draft Maryland CB Deonte Banks with 24th pick

DEONTE-BANKS

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Joe Schoen was getting concerned.

As the first round of the NFL Draft reach its final eight selections Thursday night, the list of players that Giants considered taking at No. 25 was quickly dwindling. Schoen, running his second draft as the team's general manager, did not want to get stuck with a blank sheet.

"We were getting depleted," Schoen said. "I would say it got pretty tense."

Schoen relieved the anxiety by trading up one spot and then selecting arguably the best available cornerback in Deonte Banks.

Step into the new draft room as the Giants make their picks for the 2023 class.

Banks, 6-2 and 205 pounds, is the first player from the University of Maryland the Giants have ever selected in the draft's opening round.

"He's a prototype from a size standpoint," Schoen said. "He's athletic. He's physical. He can run. He ran 4.32 at the combine. He has arm length, big hands. He's been a four-year starter. He was hurt a year ago, but he has played a lot of ball at Maryland and schematically, he's a good fit."

View the top photos of Deonte Banks' career at Maryland.

The Giants started eight different cornerbacks in 2022 (either outside or in the slot) and needed a standout at that position to play opposite veteran Adoree' Jackson.

"You can never have enough good corners," coach Brian Daboll said. "This is a passing league. We have a tough division and 'Tae,' he's a tall, lengthy, press, man-to-man corner who we had graded high, and happy we have him."

And Banks is happy to join the Giants and excited to play in defensive coordinator Wink Martindale's aggressive scheme. Banks grew up in Baltimore, where Martindale was on the Ravens' staff for 10 years prior to joining the Giants.

"I did (frequently watch the Ravens)," Banks said. "I'm very familiar, actually (with the defense). They talked to me when I was down there for the meeting, so I kind of got a feel for that, and I like it. I love it, actually."

Schoen said Martindale was "ecstatic" at acquiring Banks.

"You guys know Wink's defense and what he likes, and Deonte fits that mold to a T," Schoen said.

"He's played a lot of press man-to-man," Daboll said. "We play a variety of defenses with our system, but he's played a heavy amount of man-to-man coverage and press and he's strong. He's got good length. He's got good quickness, good speed. And now we'll just throw him in the mix with our guys and good to have him."

Banks was the third cornerback taken, after Mississippi State's Emmanuel Forbes and Oregon's Christian Gonzalez went 16-17 to Washington and New England. With the top corners and wide receivers coming off the board, Schoen concluded he had to make a move. He sent the 25th overall selection, plus the first of their two fifth-round picks, No. 160 overall, and the first of their three seventh-round choices, No. 240, to Jacksonville for the 24th choice.

"It was the right thing to do for us," Schoen said. "We do a lot of research on team needs, and what people need behind us, and including the team that we traded with. So that was a scenario we put together early in the day if we got there, and we were worried about anybody else coming up to that position. We had something in place with Jacksonville and it worked out.

"So, trying to manage phone calls with teams from us while also keeping track of options if we decided to move back. Then the other option was staying, make the pick at 25. We had a group of players that ended up being in the same range. Again, all the mocks, if it's a player you covet, you naturally think everybody else may, too. … You try to go through as many of those scenarios as you can and you make the phone calls with the other general managers throughout the league and you have good dialogue and conversations, where if you get on the clock and there's an opportunity. I had talked to Trent Baalke down in Jacksonville earlier today and said, 'I don't know if there may be a scenario where I'm worried about somebody coming behind us to this position, would you be open to it, these would be the parameters,' and we stayed in communication throughout the draft."

In four seasons at Maryland, Banks played in 30 games with 21 starts. In 2021, he played in only two games before a shoulder injury shelved him for the remainder of the season. Last year, he played in 12 games with eight starts and was credited with a career-high totals of 38 tackles (25 solo) and nine passes defensed.

"I'll give our scouts the credit," Schoen said. "He was hurt in 2021 and one of our guys was in there in August, and he wasn't really on our radar because he didn't play a lot in 2021 and so our scouts were on him early. He is somebody that we were able to get out and see and we had several looks throughout the fall, live looks, whether it was at the school, games or at practice. So, we had very good coverage on him."

In addition to meeting with Banks at the combine, the Giants hosted him for a visit at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

"I met with them a bunch of times," Bank said. "They took me out to dinner when I went out for a visit. I met with all the coaches when I was there and I also met with the DB coach (Jerome Henderson) a week after that, he came to me, and we went out to eat. We also met in the meeting room."

"He's a personable individual," Schoen said. "Football intellect was good. Very good understanding of their defense."

And Banks is a perfect fit for the Giants' defense.

*The Giants currently own the 26th selections in both the second and third rounds of the draft – the 57th and 89th overall choices – which will be held on Friday.

After dealing away two picks in their first-round trade, the Giants have five selections in rounds 4-7 on Saturday: fourth round (No. 128), fifth round (No. 172), sixth round (No. 209) and two in the seventh round (243 and 254).

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