Jeremy Banks, LB (Tennessee)
Tennessee linebacker Jeremy Banks is another player the Bengals should have strongly considered later in the draft. The former running back showed he can be a quality linebacker the past three seasons after converting to the defensive side of the ball.
Banks played an excellent game against Alabama. The backer beat left tackle and 65th overall pick, Tyler Steen, badly on one play early in the first quarter to pressure the quarterback. A few plays later, Banks came on a blitz to pressure Brice Young again, but running back Jahmyr Gibbs did just enough to keep him off of the QB.
On another play, Banks added another pressure just missing out on a safety.
Banks pressured Young a lot that game. Including another important pressure late in the fourth quarter of a tie game with 45 seconds left on the clock.
Despite Jahmyr Gibbs' 4.3 speed, Banks did a good job of keeping up with the speedy running back on run and pass plays throughout the matchup. The linebacker showed good instincts and the ability to run sideline to sideline.
Versus LSU, Banks showed that he can cover tight ends down the field as well. He had a nice pass breakup early in the second quarter of that game.
Banks also played a variety of roles on defense. His primary position was middle linebacker but he showed that he could line up as a standup edge defender and rush the passer as well. No matter where he lined up, he always seemed to make plays.
The former Volunteer showed incredible athleticism at the combine. His 4.5 40 placed him in the 91st percentile. He also performed well in the broad jump (94%), vertical jump (85%), and 10-yard split (84%).
With the speed of the quarterbacks within the division and conference, missing out on a fast and athletic linebacker like Banks could be something that the team looks back on with some regret.
Banks went undrafted but has now found a home with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.