With the double-edged sword of exceptional size working for and against him, Zach Banner projects as a Day 3 pick for the 2017 NFL Draft.
At every stage of the draft process this spring –from the Senior Bowl to the NFL Combine– scouts have marveled at Zach Banner’s size.
That size helped him win All-American honors as a senior at USC, to go along with a second-straight All-Pac-12 first team selection.
In 38 career starts, Banner cleared the way for Trojan running backs and protected quarterbacks like Cody Kessler and Sam Darnold from rushers off the edge.
The trouble for Banner as the 2017 NFL Draft approaches is that his size could also be a problem.
With limited athleticism, there are questions about how 6-foot-9 behemoth will be able to cope with NFL-level defensive lineman.
That leaves Banner with plenty to prove to whichever team takes a chance on his considerable upside.
“He was productive at USC as he’s a capable run-blocker in certain schemes and he has the length to recover in pass protection. Banner is slow to change directions and position his body to make all the necessary blocks, and that will limit his fits at the next level.”— Pro Football Focus
“Rare size, but some teams will question whether he can bend enough to be a functional NFL guard. As a tackle, he lacks quickness to consistently protect the passer, and teams might focus too heavily on that shortcoming. Teams who focus on Banner’s strength — drive blocking — should be rewarded with a starting right guard who is average in pass protection, but who can help turn run creases into running lanes.”— Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
“Keeping his weight in check will be critical to his NFL success (he’s been as big as 385 pounds while at USC). Banner is an excellent-sized right tackle (or guard) prospect (6083, 353 pounds with 34 7/8-inch arms) with marginal speed (5.58 40-dash) and agility (5.21 short shuttle)..”— ESPN
Coming into the season, you’d have expected the big lineman to hear his name on Day 2, if not Day 1, but the Day 3 grade has stood through the spring as the same thing that makes him desirable — his size — also makes him difficult to find a fit for the NFL.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller projects Banner in the fifth round, the 178th overall selection to the Miami Dolphins.
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Over at DraftTek.com, Banner appears in the sixth round as pick No. 194 to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Given his potential upside with size that simply can’t be taught, the fifth round likely awaits for Banner.