Eric Banks: What the Lions are getting in their new DT

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The Detroit Lions made a move to bolster the defensive line on Friday. The Lions placed a successful waiver claim on defensive tackle Eric Banks, who was waived by the Los Angeles Chargers this week.

What are the Lions getting in Banks?

Banks is in his second NFL season. He started out with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent out of Texas-San Antonio. Banks, all 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds of him, spent most of his rookie campaign on the Rams’ practice squad.

He was with the Rams in the preseason in 2021 and even bagged a great sack in their matchup against the Raiders. Banks was cut in the final roster cutdowns and moved to the other side of SoFi Stadium with the Chargers.

He played in each of the first three games for the Chargers, logging 36 total defensive snaps as a rotational reserve. Banks registered one tackle. The Chargers had a player returning from I.R. and decided to let Banks go.

Banks wins with length and the ability to get himself narrow between the tackles. He’s got very long arms and uses a nice jab to keep his length as an asset. He’s athletic enough that he played as a QB in high school, and his feet and agility reflect it.

There isn’t a lot of lower-body power to Banks game. He doesn’t anchor well in the run game, getting too upright and appearing to try and see over the block to locate the ball. Banks does have some upper-body power and torques his shoulders well, which in combination with his long arms makes him difficult to control if he wins the initial combat.

During his time at UTSA, Banks led the nation in forced fumbles. He uses the length and a relentless effort to extricate the ball very well on sacks but also on run plays where the back tries to scoot past him.

He joins a crowded Lions defensive front that also returned DE Jashon Cornell from suspension this week. Banks projects to play as a DE in Aaron Glenn’s scheme, fluctuating between the 4 and 6 techniques. He is a familiar face for GM Brad Holmes, who led the Rams scouting department when that team signed Banks.