The two areas the Giants were focusing on in the first round of the NFL draft — wide receiver and cornerback — are interconnected.
It is an attack league and talent at those positions allow a team to A) explode on offense or B) defuse the opposing offense.
The Giants expect Deonte Banks will develop, quickly, into a diffuser in defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s aggressive system.
“They send a lot of pressure and they play man behind it,’’ Banks said Friday as he and his family toured and accepted congratulations at the Giants’ facility. “I like that.’’
The Giants like that, as well, which is why they traded up one spot, from 25 to 24, in the first round of the NFL Draft to take Banks after three cornerbacks and top-four wide receivers were off the board.
The Giants have Banks at 6-foot-1 and 197 pounds and clocked him at 4.32 in the 40-yard dash — too much size and speed for them to pass up.
“I try to be aggressive and I try to use my superpower, which is my physicality,’’ Banks said.
A physical nature is what attracted the Giants to Banks, a four-year starter at Maryland and the fourth cornerback selected behind Devon Witherspoon, Emmanuel Forbes and Christian Gonzalez.
If Banks was bothered by this, he kept it well hidden.
“Good for them,’’ Banks said, while admitting, “Gives me a little edge.’’
Banks arrived for his first day on the job wearing a silver “Tae’’ necklace and said that is what he prefers to be called.
The Baltimore native (he grew up a Ravens fan) was accompanied by his parents, brother, sister, best friend and girlfriend.
As a lightly recruited three-star player, Maryland was the only Power 5 school to make Banks an offer. He was hardly on the Giants’ radar after a torn labrum in 2021 limited him to just two games that season.
“It was real tough,’’ Banks said of the injury. “Football is really my happiness. I was in a really dark spot. I just started to really care for it more because it got taken away from me.’’
Catch up with the entire list of Giants picks from the 2023 NFL Draft, including round-by-round analysis.
Banks returned to health to start 12 games in 2022. He had 25 solo tackles, 38 total tackles, eight passes defensed and one interception.
Scouts point to Banks’ performance this past season against Ohio State as a reason to be excited about him as a prospect.
Playing in College Park, the Terps lost 43-30 in November but Banks was able to slow down the high-powered Buckeyes’ passing attack.
Marvin Harrison Jr. was held in check — five catches for 68 yards and no touchdowns — as was Emeka Egbukoa (6-82-0).
C.J. Stroud threw for just 241 yards and one touchdown, far below his season pace.
“It was a good game to watch from a scouting perspective, and it was a real good year for me personally,’’ Banks said.
Less than 24 hours after his name was announced as the Giants’ pick, Daniel Jones and cornerbacks Adoree’ Jackson and Darnay Holmes reached out to welcome Banks to the team.
Banks will be given every chance to win a starting job alongside Jackson.
“I feel like he can teach me a lot of things,’’ Banks said. “First of all, I’ve got to get my foot in the door. I’m coming here to work.’’
In 28 games for the Terps, Banks had just two interceptions.
“Look, he was around the ball quite a bit,’’ coach Brian Daboll said. “There were a lot of pass breakups. He can match receivers.’’
General manager Joe Schoen called cornerback “one of the hardest positions in football. You’re moving backwards, away from the ball, trying to cover elite athletes. So it’s one of the most difficult positions, I think, in the NFL.’’
That is what awaits Banks.
He said he compares his aggressive style to NFL star corners Patrick Peterson, Jalen Ramsey and Marshon Lattimore.
“They’re physical and they talk a lot of trash too,’’ Banks said.
Talk a lot of trash?
“A little bit,’’ he said. “I feel you got to have a little edge to you, playing defense in general.’’
If he gets on the field immediately, Banks will have to contend with an array of the top wide receivers in the league.
In the NFC East, there is DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown, CeeDee Lamb and Terry McLaurin.
Outside the division, there is Stefon Diggs, Garrett Wilson, DK Metcalf, DeAndre Hopkins, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
Banks listened as some of these players were mentioned to him and was asked what he thought about the challenge that awaits him.
“I think,’’ Banks said, “of competing and competing.’’
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