Zach Banner’s task at the 2017 NFL Combine is to wow pro scouts with his size, while answering concerns that he may be too big.
A mainstay on USC’s offensive line for the past three seasons, Zach Banner is looking to convince an NFL team to take a chance on his rare measurables.
Banner started 38 times for the Trojans at right and, occasionally, left tackle. He drew All-American honors in 2016 to add to two All-Pac-12 first team selections.
That experience should serve the offensive lineman well as he guns for a draft selection, but he’ll need to answer physical questions at the 2017 NFL Combine first.
Scouting Report and Draft Stock
Banner’s greatest asset is clear. He’s huge at 6-foot-9, 360 pounds and possesses the power to maul defenders in run blocking.
Dan Brugler of CBS Sports called Banner a “people-mover in the run game” while also praising his ability to “create a traffic jam in pass protection.”
There was similar praise from NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, who noted Banner’s ability to “make life miserable for pass rushers when he latches strong hands into their frame” in addition to his status as a “powerful road-grader who blasts holes open as a down-blocker.”
That kind of size and power is rare, making Banner a valuable commodity especially because his athleticism doesn’t suffer too greatly from it.
However, size is a double-edge sword when it comes to Banner.
Both Brugler and Zierlein pointed out Banner’s struggles with weight management. That’s something teams will certainly be concerned with, but there are also problems with quickness which raise red flags.
Zierlein wondered if Banner “could be too big and bulky to handle NFL edge talent.” That played out at the Senior Bowl where speedy edge rushers were able to get the best of him.
The problem could be solved by moving Banner inside to guard, but there his height may be an issue on its own.
Perhaps of greater concern is the report from Walter Football’s Charlie Chapman whose sources claim, “Banner has some athletic talent, but he has big problems with his weight, work ethic and lethargy.”
So where does that leave Banner?
Someone could take a chance on Banner on Day 2 if they fall in love with his size and run-blocking potential, but most projections fit the big man in the middle rounds on Day 3.
What Can He Improve at the Combine?
At the Senior Bowl earlier this year, Banner weighed in at 361 pounds and told Jackson Safon of Annenberg Media that he planned to lose 30 pounds before the NFL Combine.
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Whether or not he delivers on that promise, there will be eyes watching the scale closely if that number goes up rather than down.
Displaying the discipline to keep his weight in control would be a plus in Banner’s corner.
The interview process at the Combine could be another positive for the lineman with his larger-than-life personality and charm.
Positional drills will be key, especially if Banner can get his weight down and show improved quickness in pass protection.
He’ll also have the chance to show off his strength in the bench press, for what it’s worth.