Scouting Report: Zach Banner

USC
Offensive Tackle #73
Senior, 6’9” 370

Zach Banner is an absolute monster of a man, standing at just about 6-foot-9 and close to 380 pounds. The Redshirt Senior is the son of former NFL player Lincoln Kennedy. Although Banner has a ton of flaws to his game, it is impossible to ignore the potential upside he possesses.

Strengths

  • Massive size
  • Powerful in run-game
  • Fluid pass-set
  • Long Arms

Banner is most comfortable as a big mauler on the right side of the line, using brute strength to drive back defenders. When he can get his big hands and long arms into the sweet spot, defenders have little chance of escaping his clutch. Though he’s not particularly quick, Banner is athletic enough to get to the second-level and take out linebackers.

As for his pass-protection, I came away under the impression that the right coach may be able to clean up some of his bad tendencies and technical issues. For a man of his stature, he has pretty fluid hips, and at times displays an adequate pass-blocking set.

Weaknesses

  • Inconsistent technique
  • Slow feet
  • Mental mistakes
  • Leaner

For whatever reason, Banner seems to miss assignments due to mental errors often, and is penalized frequently. In pass protection, Banner lacks feel when it’s time to strike the defender with his hands, which leads to him to lose leverage. Banner has a tendency to lean his upper-body in front of his base, causing him to miss blocks. Here is a prime example.

He struggles mightily with stunts and pressure across his face. His slow-feet can be given a large portion of the blame for this. In both the run and passing game, Banner’s slow feet get him into trouble. When he is forced to rely on technique to mask his athletic deficiencies, the consistency just isn’t there. Although I like Banner’s potential, he is a few years away from being ready to protect an NFL quarterback from elite pass-rushers.

Round Value: Round 3

Banner is a project, but one that depending on the situation, may be worthwhile. With the lack of quality offensive linemen in both college football and the NFL right now, Banner’s potential ceiling will be enticing to almost every team in the league. There will undoubtedly be at least one coach that believes they can clean up the technical issues, which would probably allow Banner to hear his name called on day two of the draft.

NFL Comparison: King Dunlap

Dunlap is really the only player who is a fair comparison due to their massive size. Both players have trouble playing with low pad-level, mainly because they are giants. Their size leaves them at an athletic disadvantage against speed-rushers, which can become an advantage if their technique is consistent. Banner has the potential to be a better run-blocker than Dunlap, but will be hard-pressed to start for an NFL team anytime soon.

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