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Zach Banner Is Massive, But Is He The Next Bryant McKinnie?


The Ravens are looking for big, physical offensive linemen this offseason.

They don't come any bigger than USC right tackle Zach Banner.

Banner was the center of attention at the Senior Bowl weigh-ins this year, where he measured in over 6-foot-8 and 361 pounds.

With that size, in addition to an engulfing 83-inch wingspan, Banner kept defenders at bay throughout an impressive week of practice in Mobile, and he could be a Day 2 or early Day 3 pick.

"I finished dominant," Banner said. "I'm going to keep using that word because that's my focus: dominate."

The Ravens may have an opening at right tackle this year if Rick Wagner departs in free agency. He's unrestricted and Baltimore also has other free agents to consider bringing back, including defensive tackle Brandon Williams, fullback Kyle Juszczyk and wide receiver Kamar Aiken.

Banner was a three-year starter for the Trojans who played every game but two on the right side. He's aggressive and a leader. His coaches say Banner would often be the one firing up the team with his booming voice during halftime.

A five-star prospect coming out of high school, Banner also has the pedigree. He's the son of 1993 top-10 pick and 11-year NFL veteran Lincoln Kennedy.

Banner could improve his technique and footwork, which will always be an area to work on considering his size, but he's ultra-competitive and loves the game.

"Today they put me on the left side," Banner said after Thursday's practice. "I think I had my one and only team rep that I lost all week and it bothered the hell out of me. Coach told me to calm down. He was like, 'It's OK, it's one out of 200.' It's a challenge, but it's one I accept."

The biggest question with Banner is whether his greatest asset (his size) is also his biggest problem.

The Ravens don't have an offensive lineman even close to that weight. Their biggest lineman last season was practice squad offensive tackle De'Ondre Wesley, who is listed at 6-foot-6, 326 pounds.

For Banner, 361 pounds is a positive step in the right direction. At one point in 2015, he said he tipped the scales at 385 pounds.

The Ravens dealt with weight issues with left tackle Bryant McKinnie from 2011-13. It was a constant source of concern, although McKinnie held his own and helped the team win Super Bowl XLVII. He also went to one Pro Bowl (2009) as a member of the Minnesota Vikings.

But even McKinnie (listed at 352) weighed less than Banner. The incoming prospect knows his waistline is something NFL general managers, coaches and scouts will be monitoring closely over the coming months.

"I've grown up. I've turned myself into a man that understands that he's going to lose money, going to lose a spot, get fired, if he doesn't get control of it," Banner said. "I'm going to take care of my weight. I'll be in the 330s by the combine."

Banner said somebody from the Ravens spoke to him while at the Senior Bowl. They'll likely have an eye on him at the combine as well to see if he hits his goal.

"I would love to play for Baltimore or any of the other 31 teams," Banner said.

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