Giants: Hankins emerging
It was just seven weeks ago that optimism surrounded the 3-2 New York Giants, with fans hoping for a return to the postseason for the first time since winning Super Bowl XLVI. Six straight losses later, while the team reeling from missed opportunities, one member of the defense has done anything but, seizing his chance to become one of the dominant interior defensive linemen in the NFL.
Second-year pro Johnathan Hankins, the Giants’ 2013 second-round draft pick, claimed the starting job this offseason at defensive tackle after Linval Joseph’s departure to Minnesota. As a rookie, Hankins was at the bottom of the rotation, but received consistent playing time on a weekly basis.
His +5.6 overall grade was a good first impression, ranking third among rookie DTs behind Carolina starters Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei, each of whom played more than twice the number of defensive snaps that Hankins did. Yet, there was still something to be desired from Hankins. He made less of an impact as a pass rusher (-2.9), not registering a sack and totaling a mere three pressures.
Now 11 games into his sophomore season, Hankins leads the Giants’ DT rotation in snaps (471) and has made the entire league take notice with a +9.5 pass rush grade to accompany his +9.2 as a run stopper. On pace to more than triple his playing time from a year ago, Hankins has four sacks and 25 total pressures for a PRP score of 9.7, second-best among qualifying DTs.