New Orleans Saints player profile 2018: Chris Banjo


Chris Banjo, the safety and special teams standout has the chance to make even more waves for the New Orleans Saints in 2018.

The Saints have their fair share of star players who were drafted high. Whether it be by New Orleans themselves, or other teams. Marshon Lattimore was selected 11th overall, Drew Brees 32nd, Mark Ingram 28th, Cameron Jordan 28th, the list goes on. Even if that may be the case, the team has found gems in undrafted players as well. On that list is Chris Banjo, a safety who will be entering his second full season with the Saints in 2018. 

Banjo stands at 5-feet-10 and weighs 206-pounds. After four years at Southern Methodist University (SMU), Banjo went undrafted in 2013. He was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars but was cut a few months later. Shortly after, the Packers picked him up and he found his footing in the league. 

After bouncing back-and-forth from practice squad and active roster for awhile, Banjo led the Packers in special team tackles in 2015. He totaled 16 tackles on the season in 16 games, one of which he started at safety. Green Bay put Banjo on injured reserve in 2016 and he was waived in October. A little over two weeks later, he found himself on the Saints roster. 

He ended up appearing in seven games for the Saints in 2016, totaling five tackles on special teams. For the third season in his career, Banjo played in all 16 regular season games for the Saints in 2017. His most notable play was an interception against the Falcons in week 14. The pick helped lead the Saints to victory over the division rivals. He totaled 12 tackles (most on special teams), one interception, one pass defended and a forced fumble.

He impressed the league so much he was a Pro Bowl alternate on special teams. 

Banjo in 2018

Now, with an ever-improving secondary, the Saints will look to implement Banjo into the rotation in camp. He’s only 28 years old, but has enough experience to mentor the younger players. With Kurt Coleman, Vonn Bell and Marcus Williams in front of him, Banjo will most likely be the second-string nickel safety. His tackling ability and high motor bring Banjo’s value for third down situations to a very high level. 

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Quick facts

Banjo was born to Nigerian parents in Houston, Texas. His full name is Ayokunmi Christopher Oluwaseun Banjo. At SMU, he was named to the second-team All-Conference USA. 

College stats: 321 tackles, 15 passes defended, four interceptions, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries. His first and only NFL interception was against Atlanta last year.