When the New York Giants lost their best defensive tackle Linval Joseph last offseason in free agency, many feared that that the Giants would have a difficult time stopping the run as well as clogging the A-gap and collapsing the pocket around opposing quarterbacks. But those fears were put to rest when second year defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins stepped into the starting role and roved to be more than capable of filling the void left by Joseph.
At 6’2/320lbs, the former Ohio State Buckeye has the size to be a cog in the middle of the defensive line and has played very well against the run. Hankins also has a rare trait for someone his size and that is his ability to be a four down lineman.
This has led him to also be a force as a pass rusher, taking on double teams and having the strength and technique to not just get pressure in the face of quarterbacks, but to finish tackles as well. It has lead him to have 7.0 sacks this season, very impressive for a 4-3 defensive tackle.
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Hankins is one of the most consistent players on the Giants and can provide a spark at any time with his big play making ability. It is amazing to look at Hankins and realize that he is only in his second NFL season and only his first season as a starter.
He plays like a veteran showing great instincts to not be fooled on play fakes and never giving up on a play.
He has earned all positive grades from PFF in his rookie year and has only improved in his second season making him one of the most exciting players for the Giants because the sky is the limit for this young man.
It will be exciting to see how he develops in the near future and is primed to take that next step and become one of the league’s premier defensive tackles. He has a high motor and is always around the play doing all he can to get the job done.
If the Giants can add one of the many promising defensive ends in next year’s draft class, it can make life even easier for Hankins because it will be more weapons for the opposing offensive lines to account for. It will create even more opportunities for the man dubbed “Big Time Hank” by his teammates.
There may not be a ton of positives surrounding this Giants team, but there are certainly some young, talented players to build around and Hankins is certainly one of them. It will be very interesting to see what the Giants do to build around these prospects in order to develop a winning team in the near future.
One thing is for certain, Big Time Hank will be there every Sunday primed and ready to deliver, a trait that is also hard to find in today’s NFL.