So, if you’ve traded a well-liked but inconsistent, injury prone tight end to the most hated team in the NFL, what position do you go to with the pick you get in return? The answer: It doesn’t really matter. However, it does seem like a safe PR move to go with an offensive lineman. No one can complain about how Zach Banner never caught as many passes Dwayne “walking boot” Allen (because of all the injuries, you see) or never made enough tackles to justify giving up a former starting tight end.
What does Banner bring to the team? I don’t really know yet, but he sure as hell is huge. His NFL.com combine page measures him at 6′ 8” and 353 pounds, while his CBS Sports draft profile puts him at a slightly less svelt 375 (!).
Banner’s strengths are as follows, and the description is absolutely delightful:
Massive man with good upper-body strength. Has length and girth to overwhelm smaller opponents. Able to withstand a bull rush thanks to enormous frame. Powerful road-grader who blasts holes open as down-blocker and generates movement with his base blocks. Leverage not always necessary to produce push at point of attack. Won’t find him on the ground much. Decent athlete for his size. Functional combo blocker. Initial kick-slide is fairly smooth. Can make life miserable for pass rushers when he latches strong hands into their frame. Could play right tackle but would need help against edge speed. Balance and redirect are adequate.
Weaknesses? He’s not very athletic or fast (no kidding? He’s gigantic. If you find a guy that big who’s exceptionally agile, he’s going to be playing defense), and he has struggled with his weight, having weighed as much as 385 in the past.
Banner may prove he can handle edge rushers better than people expect simply by being too gigantic for them to handle. The dude is a land mass with a nice tall frame that can handle the extra girth, and he knows how to use his size.
Regardless of that, just imagine this “road grader” playing a guard position, plowing through defensive linemen and opening up holes for running backs. He could become a good tackle, but I think he’s more likely to make his presence known at guard, where the Colts still need another starter.
This is a solid pick that could end up producing a long term solution, either as depth or a starter.