Rookie Zach Banner Brings Massive Frame To Colts Offensive Line

Intro: After trading back in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Colts took USC offensive tackle Zach Banner. What about Banner sold the Colts?

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INDIANAPOLIS – You listen to Zach Banner and he sounds like a walking spokesperson for the city of Indianapolis.

Banner has spent four days in his new home, all coming earlier this year at the NFL Combine.

But he sure loved it.

"I mean this and this isn't just hype, a lot of guys go through this process and they talk and they get up and say, 'Man, I am so excited to be here.' I really have been excited about Indianapolis," Banner said after the Colts spent the 137th pick on him over the weekend.

"You guys got that pizza joint about two blocks up from the hotel where we had the combine – Giordano's. That is a great pizza joint. The Ram that is right there across the street, the owners are from Tacoma, Washington (Banner's hometown)."

How about other parts of the state?

"I used to play basketball in Fort Wayne up there in the Spiece Fieldhouse," the engaging Banner continued. "I used to play basketball there all the time once a year in high school. I'm very, very well acclimated to Indiana as of right now and I can't wait to move there, live there and be a part of it."

It will not take long for Indy natives to take notice of Banner.

At 6-9 and hovering near 350 pounds, Banner enters the NFL as one of the league's biggest players.

Banner's weight has always received plenty of attention when assessing his game at the next level.

At the USC Pro Day, Banner weighed in at 353 pounds. He says he's under 350 now and plans on losing more weight.

No matter the number, Banner's uncommon frame was attractive to the Colts.

"His pass (protection) in college was really good," Chris Ballard said of USC's three-year starter at right tackle. "He's just so hard to get around.

"He needs work. There's some stuff in pass pro that he still needs works on, but he's such a big man with long arms (that) he's very difficult to get around."

Colts' area scout Dave Razzano observed Banner throughout the past few collegiate seasons.

Banner, who is the biological son of former Pro Bowl lineman Lincoln Kennedy, impressed Razzano against NFL-caliber talent, including 2017 first-round pick Tak McKinley (UCLA).

"He does well against good players," Razzano says of Banner. "Watching him against speed rushers, he's hard to get around. That's where you kind of become sold on his ability.

"As big as he is, there's a tendency to think he's not moving well, but he actually is. He's a good athlete for his size. Against the best competition is where he normally plays his best football."

Unlike last year, the Colts do not need their rookie lineman to be in the starting lineup come opening day.

The Colts have created some depth up front, so if it takes Banner some time to adjust to the professional level, that's okay. At the same time, if Banner shows early readiness, then he could challenge Le'Raven Clark/Joe Haeg/Denzelle Good for the open right guard/tackle spots.

The immediate playing time for Banner might be up in the air, but he did want the local media in Indy to make sure they took note of something he said after being taken in Round Four.

"I just want to come in and work," Banner said often during his draft conference call. "I want to make sure you guys write that down and everything and just make sure that I am ready to work.

"Anybody who thinks they come into this draft process thinking that they are ready in any factor is belligerent and that's not me. To be honest with you, I think that there are things I can always improve – foot speed. I am just ready and I am ready to work on all factors of my game. Get in the film room. Get in the playbook. I am just ready to go to work."

Zach Banner - Round Four - Pick 137 - Defensive Tackle - USC

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