Zach Banner, OT
School: USC | Conference: PAC-12
College Experience: RS Senior | Age: 23
Height / Weight: 6-8 / 358 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 4th or 5th Round
NFL Comparison: Austin Howard
You probably can already see that Zach Banner is a massive human. The former USC tackle has the height and weight measurements you would make your create-a-player (still called that right?) tackle in Madden. Banner has played as heavy as 385 pounds this season so it was a welcome sign for scouts when he trimmed down to 358 at the combine and stayed there at his pro day. He operates with a pretty decent kick slide and is able to set and take on rushers on the edge with good arm extension and because of his mass is able to redirect despite some technique issues. He is better in the run game specifically on down and combo blocks working with the right guard. Just with his size alone Banner creates a decent barrier between him and the QB but he also has serious deficiencies in his athleticism, footwork, and technique. There is no other way to put it other than he is slow and lacks burst. One of the major holes in his game is his inability to get to his gap assignment against a speedy blitzer or even maintain the edge against top NFL talent. I doubt Banner will suddenly become a better athlete but work with a solid NFL offensive line coach could make him a solid backup option at the tackle position and even an eventual starter in a few years.
- Rare size for the position that in more ways than bad has helped him mask some technical and athletic deficiencies.
- Is a wall against OLBs that aren't great athletes has the size and length to take them on directly and become a solid barrier. Rushers who get stopped by him are forces to redirect and he mirrors well and stays with his assignment.
- Never thought I’d say this but at 6’8” playing high is less of an issue for him. He will always play high. Getting push off the snap for him is going to be more about hand placement and driving his feet.
- Is a road grader in the run game and is particularly effective on down blocks to create holes.
- Lacks flexibility and is a stiff and rigid mover in general. Feet are heavy and he limited athleticism and speed to pull with urgency on stretch plays or to seal off inside gaps. Labored in his ability to redirect and would get eaten alive by quick edge rushers that know how to use their hands.
- He’s got some injury history having redshirted his freshman year to have surgery on both hips.
- Slow in his initial stance and get off at the snap sometimes has to lunge to keep up with rushers off the edge which leads to balance issues.
- Needs a lot of technique work with his feet and punch relies too much on his size rather than the fundamentals.
Let’s see his work:
Zach Banner (son of former #Raiders OT Lincoln Kennedy) was on NFL Network. Seems like a good dude. Love to see him in Silver and Black— James Arcellana (@RaidersReporter) April 14, 2017
USC OT Zach Banner is not fleet-of-foot. Still has a shot b/c of his wingspan - had the most power in his drive block, nice arm extension.— Chad Reuter (@chad_reuter) March 4, 2017
Zach Banner is really struggling with these drills. Lack of foot speed, tight hips— NFL Mocks Crew (@NFLMocks) March 3, 2017
Solomon ain't the dude you wanna false step on, Zach Banner: pic.twitter.com/QS5MLFJpzx— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) December 17, 2016
Big Zach Banner (73) probably not the guy most would anticipate is quickest off the ball. https://t.co/ltx616yuup— Rob Rang (@RobRang) December 1, 2016
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
Some draftniks are promoting Banner as a guard primarily because of his lack of athleticism. I don’t see it because of his height. At 6’8” obstruction of view can be a real issue for quarterbacks and running backs alike. I also like Banners size on the outside more because of his ability to obstruct based on his girth. He’ll never be a quick twitch athlete and might always have trouble with OLBs that are quick twitch athletes but if he can take to coaching and correct his footwork, lateral movement, and quickness out of his stance he has a good shot to be a solid backup and/or a mediocre starter.
I’ve expressed why I think the Redskins need tackle depth outside of Ty Nsekhe and since I’ve posted my last OT profile the Redskins went out and signed John Kling. The team may think they have their bases covered there as far as depth but bringing in a mid/late round prospect like Banner should provide some real competition at the position and award a roster spot to who is most ready. Banner could offer immediate help as an additional lineman in short yardage and goal line situations. Could you imagine Gruden lining this guy up as a “TE” in a goal line formation or as a “FB” on 3rd and short (maybe not)? Banner has a long way to go but developing a mid to late round pick like him with impressive size and length could be a wise investment in the meantime in the case of free agent losses or injury.