With Mel Kiper's early 2023 NFL Draft mock out, we take a look at whether we agree with his pick for the Jaguars at No. 24.
The 2023 NFL Draft will be a telling one for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Most importantly, it will be here before anyone knows it.
"Yeah, you feel like your window of opportunity is now, strike while the iron is hot so to speak," Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said during his end-of-season press conference.
"We’ve got to take advantage of that with the guys we have, with the free agent process, with the draft process coming up and just we got to hit on all those benchmarks and continue to improve the team.”
With the NFL Draft's first-round and the Jaguars' impending selection at No. 24 overall coming fast, we are going to take a look throughout the offseason on what outside experts think the Jaguars will or should do with their first-round pick.
This time, we take a look at ESPN Mel Kiper's most recent mock and weigh in on how we feel about the pick.
No. 24: Maryland CB Deonte Banks
The chalk pick for the Jaguars at No. 24 overall so far has been cornerback. We recently mocked a cornerback to the Jaguars at No. 24 overall for a reason earlier this week, and it is obvious the Jaguars will ned help there with Shaquill Griffin likely set to be released and Tre Herndon set to be a free agent. Herndon could return, but the Jaguars will still need a slot cornerback.
Cornerback is exactly where Kiper goes with the No. 24 pick as well, giving the Jaguars Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks.
"How about those Jaguars? After an AFC South title in 2022, shouldn't they be the early favorites to win it again? General manager Trent Baalke did a nice job filling holes last offseason, but the pass rush still was mediocre, the off-ball linebackers struggled badly in coverage and there's an open corner spot opposite Tyson Campbell," Kiper wrote. "With a strong cornerback class in this draft, Baalke & Co. could target Banks, a man-coverage defender with exceptional physical tools. He could rise as we get closer to the draft once NFL teams see him test at the combine. And yes, this makes five cornerbacks off the board in Round 1.
"Another position to keep an eye on for Jacksonville is tight end, where Evan Engram is a free agent. Luke Musgrave (Oregon State) and Dalton Kincaid (Utah) could be options," Kiper continued .
Banks, a former three-star recruit, developed into a star cornerback for Maryland. Listed by Maryland at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, recorded one interception and eight pass deflection for Maryland in 2022.
"Maryland played Banks to the boundary and field sides of plays, but he seemed most comfortable operating along the boundary," The Draft Bible said in December.
"He’s received starting snaps since his freshman season in 2019. Banks has roughly 1,500 defensive snaps and 315 special teams snaps to his name. He’s a well-built corner with good but not elite arm length."
On the surface, this seems like an odd pick for the Jaguars. The Jaguars need cornerback help for the future since Darious Williams will be 31 and a potential cap casualty in 2024, but that means they still have to weigh 2023 when he is still set to be a starter. If the Jaguars take a corner this offseason, he will have to be a nickel to play right away, and Banks' profile doesn't scream that.
“Yeah, I think so. I think so. I think it’s a natural spot for him. He did a great job when we put him back out there, he did a great job when he was in the nickel. I think we’re a better team with him on the perimeter," Pederson said about Williams at the end of the season.
So, right position, but a questionable fit for 2023. The Jaguars have their starter opposite Tyson Campbell already.
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