2017 Raiders Draft Profile: USC OL Zach Banner

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Jan 2, 2017; Pasadena, CA, USA; USC Trojans offensive tackle Zach Banner (73) reacts during the 103rd Rose Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Rose Bowl. USC defeated Penn State 52-49 in the highest scoring game in Rose Bowl history. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2017 Raiders Draft Profile

Name: Zach Banner

Position/School: OL, USC

Height: 6’8”

Weight: 340 pounds

History: While his name may not ring any bells, the lineage will. Banner is the son of former Raiders offensive lineman Lincoln Kennedy. Normally, bloodlines have little to do with on-field performance. It speaks more to exposure to the professional environment.

Run Block: Banner run blocks the way a man of his enormous frame would. After the snap, he will lock on and drive the defender aside, creating a hole for the back to bolt through. Banner is all about the one on one power game. While his immense size creates holes at the line of scrimmage, it prevents him from notching those second level blocks. Losing a little weight would help him immeasurably. The Raiders like big and sturdy linemen. However, the must have some conditioning.


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Pass Block: Banner maintains an adequate pad level during pass pro, which is the problem. For his size, he needs to keep a consistent level.  Besides, any fluctuation in leverage allows smaller rushers to snake through. On the other hand, Banner possesses an outstanding punch. Meaning, he delivers a two-handed blow to the opponent’s chest, causing a momentary halt to their forward progress.  For the most part, that split second will allow the quarterback enough time to get the throw off.

Needed Improvement: Granted, on stature alone, Banner can evolve into a good lineman. He needs to develop that nastiness. As cliché as this sounds, he needs to play to his size. While he finishes blocks, there is not the emphasis on playing to the whistle. Being 330 –plus pounds means that there is also substantial room for lower body strength, Banner needs to use his entire frame to generate force. If he can use his leg drive more behind his arms, his level of play can improve. Banner is literally too big to mirror defensive linemen. He will need to trust his base and not lurch for contact. As a result, taller tackles have the tendency to lunge at a blocker instead of using crisper footwork.

 

Raider Fit: In reality, Donald Penn is winding down his career in Oakland. The unknown is how this affects the offensive line. Kelechi Osemele can slide over to left tackle, Gabe Jackson returns to left guard, leaving a hole on the right side of the line. Banner could slide into a guard spot with proper coaching and technique refinement. Also, he fills the boxes for Mike Tice’s linemen preference. No one gets more out of bigger linemen that the Raiders’ offensive line coach.

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