24

January

Chris Banjo 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Chris Banjo

Chris Banjo

1) Introduction:  Green Bay Packers safety Chris Banjo was signed as an undrafted free agent who had previously been with the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Banjo made an impression in training camp and earned a roster spot, as seems to be the case each season with the Packers.  Banjo’s strength and ability to lay a big hit stood out and earned him a spot to provide valuable depth at safety and on special teams as more of a regular.

2) Profile:

Chris Banjo

  • Age: 23
  • Born: 2/26/1990 in Sugar Land, TX
  • Height: 5’10″
  • Weight: 207
  • College: Southern Methodist
  • Rookie Year: 2013
  • NFL Experience: 1 year

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Banjo was no lock to make the Packers roster and he ended up being the “feel good” story in last year’s training camp, as far as undrafted free agents go.  With the team primarily wanting depth at safety and a special teams regular, Banjo was expected to be a role player and spend most of his rookie season learning the nuances of the defense.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Banjo played on only 24% of the Packers’ defensive snaps with his most coming in week three against the Cincinnati Bengals.  Banjo was nothing special at safety this season, neither making any type of play nor giving up a big one either.  The Bengals game was a function of Burnett’s injury and McMillian’s regression.  Most of Banjo’s work was done on special teams.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success:  While Banjo was a good success story coming out of training camp, he was not a real contributor to the Packers defense this season.  With safety being a big need this offseason and with the successful return of Sean Richardson, Banjo could be one and done in Green Bay.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs:  N/A

Season Report Card:

(C) Level of expectations met during the season

(D+) Contributions to team’s overall success.

N/A Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  C-

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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29

September

Could the Packers go with Burnett and Banjo at safety?

Chris Banjo's playing time is on the rise, while Jerron McMillian's is declining. Could the Packers pair Banjo with a healthy Morgan Burnett?

Chris Banjo’s playing time is on the rise, while Jerron McMillian’s is declining. Could the Packers pair Banjo with a healthy Morgan Burnett?

Following the Packers’ week two win over Washington, defensive coordinator Dom Capers hinted at a bigger role for undrafted rookie Chris Banjo.

“You could see more and more of Chris Banjo,” Capers said, per Ty Dunne. “I thought he did well. He had one missed tackle one of those long runs, but other than that, I thought he did a nice job. He’s been a physical guy for us there through the preseason.”

And see more and more of Banjo, we did. Banjo was on the field for 54 of 56 snaps last week against the Bengals–more than M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian, according to Pro Football Focus.

Banjo’s snap count could very well go down once starter Morgan Burnett returns to the lineup. But from a physical standpoint, pairing Banjo with Burnett may give the Packers their most talented duo on the back end.

If the Packers could pull the best attributes from Jennings and McMillian, they’d have a top-notch player alongside Burnett. But Jennings (6-0 187) is limited as a run defender, and McMillian struggles in coverage.

Banjo, despite only playing 87 snaps on the season, may be the most complete player of the trio.

Jennings is coming off one of his best games as a professional at Cincinnati. He ranks 25th among 8o safeties who have played at least 25 percent of their team’s defensive snaps, per PFF. McMillian had an impressive pass deflection against the Bengals, but his playing time has decreased dramatically since week one.

McMillian played all 81 snaps in the season opener at San Francisco but was on the field for just 14 plays two weeks later at Cincinnati.

After quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews, Burnett may be the Packers’ toughest player to replace. Burnett isn’t Nick Collins at this point of his career, but there’s a sizable talent gap at safety behind Burnett.

If the trend continues, McMillian could be demoted to Banjo’s role to start the season, which was primarily on special teams. Jennings, barring injury, will continue to see the field in some capacity, while Banjo’s role when Burnett returns remains up in the air.

2

September

Packers Stock Report: Now the Games Finally Count Edition

Andy Mulumba was one of many fringe players that ended up making the final Packers roster.

As a fan, this was one of the most difficult Packers preseasons to endure in quite some time.

The Packers got hit hard with injuries (again). The team looked awful in exhibition games (especially on offense). And the quality of play was mostly abysmal (it’ll be a long time before the images of Graham Harrell, Vince Young and B.J. Coleman chucking passes to God knows where leave my mind).

Fortunately, none of that matters now. The regular season is upon us and the horror show of the preseason will be a distant memory if the Packers come out and dropkick the 49ers in week one.

For some guidance on who will be the key players in helping us erase those terrible exhibition season memories, let’s go to the Packers stock report:

Rising

Andrew Quarless
Brandon Bostick
Andy Mulumba
Chris Banjo

Lane Taylor
Jeremy Ross

All of the above players were probably sitting on pins and needles Saturday. Every one of those guys had to scrap to make the team, and now that they finally made it, I’m considering all of them rising. Of course, I’m writing this at 7:30 on Sunday night, meaning Ted Thompson could make a roster move before this publishes and cut one of them. But even if one of them does get axed early, odds are the Packers will rely on at least one of these guys to contribute during the season. Let’s hope the momentum and confidence boost they receive from being in this week’s rising category translates to the playing field.

Johnny Jolly
Jolly fits into the above group as well, but I’m giving him his own slot because his story is that cool. It was nice of the Packers to give Jolly another opportunity to redeem himself, and it was great to see Jolly take advantage of that opportunity and make the team. Initially, this whole thing seemed like the Packers just doing a good deed and helping Jolly get his life back on track. After a few exhibition games, it became apparent that Jolly can still play and fills a need on the defensive line. Next up in the Jolly reclamation project: Eliminating silly penalties.

 

Steady