The Denver Broncos first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft will be the 28th overall selection. Consequently, the player who is currently ranked at that spot, is a position of need for them. Allow me to introduce Defensive Tackle Johnathan Hankins, a 6’3", 320 lb. behemoth out of the Ohio State.
Hankins is a 1st round prospect ranked #5 out of 215 DT's nationwide with a pre-Combine
40 Time of 5.32 seconds.
Agent: Kevin Poston (DEAL Elite Athlete Management)
As a true freshman at Ohio State, Hankins made the Buckeyes rotation and recorded 16 Tackles (3 solo) plus a Quarterback Sack for the season. He weighed in as a freshman "at about 350, 355," and was regarded as only a two-down player by Defensive Coordinator Jim Heacock. By his sophomore year, Hankins managed to get his weight down to 330. He became a starter, registering 67 Tackles, trailing the team leader by only five. Hankins had 32 solo Tackles among that total, including 11 Tackles For Losses and three Quarterback Sacks. The team's Jack Stephenson Award winner as the team's outstanding defensive lineman, Johnathan was named honorable mention all-Big Ten as a sophomore by the conference coaches and media.
Johnathan is a rising star - He has played in all 22 games the past two years, ranking third among current Buckeyes with 12.5 TFLs and with 4.0 Quarterback Sacks last season. That put him on the 2012 All-American 2nd team.
GRADE - 88.6
Similar to Vernon Gholston a few years back, Hankins was a three-star high school recruit out of Michigan who the Buckeyes lured to Columbus. His size, power, and athleticism made him a two-time all-state pick at Southeastern High School, but his hustle in combination with those physical attributes is what gives him a chance to be a first round prospect in much the same way Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson was with the Buckeyes before he became the last defensive tackle selected No. 1 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1994.
Ohio State coaches liked what they saw from "Big Hank" as a true freshman in 2010 (16 tackles, 1.5 for loss) so much that they played him in every game and named him the team’s most outstanding first-year defender. As a sophomore, he was the Buckeyes’ most outstanding defensive player and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors (by coaches and media) after making 68 stops, 11 for loss and three sacks. Hankins still decided to slim down a bit after the 2011 season to add increased stamina and quickness. He started all 12 games for the Buckeyes as a junior again and earned First Team All-Big Ten honors with 55 tackles, 4 for loss and one sack. Knowing his combination of size, strength and quickness would be attractive at the next level, Hankins decided to skip his senior year in Columbus and go pro.
STRENGTHS Nice job against the run, tracking the play with his eyes and using his body to force the issue. Taller nose tackle prospect with thick upper body and extra girth in the middle. Plays all over the line, often outside the tackle despite his build because of his rare agility. Extends to shrug off blocks and uses his hands to bully blockers, controlling the POA and setting the edge when playing outside. Has extremely strong hands to secure tackles and finish plays once he gets his hands on the ballcarrier. Comes off the ball hard and quick for his size, will win a gap and blow up plays in the backfield if linemen don’t get to the reach-block. Drives back NFL-caliber guards into the backfield and holds up doubles, does not give ground even against better players. Works down the line to get to ballcarriers while engaged, and hustles downfield and to the sideline if needed. Three-down player, on the field for a lot of snaps considering his bulk.
WEAKNESSES Lacks the burst to be an elite pass rusher, though he can make quarterbacks uncomfortable in the pocket. Can play with high pads, giving better linemen a chance to stand him up. Relies too much on his upper body strength at times and needs to play with consistent leverage. He uses his body too much and needs to consistently utilize his hands and limbs. Must keep his weight under control to maximize his athleticism, and make sure he doesn’t lose his strength and hustle at the end of games. He tends to wear down throughout the course of a game, looking fatigued and noticeably taking plays off. Hankins battled a minor knee sprain the past two seasons, wearing a brace much of the time.
NFL COMPARISON Dontari Poe
BOTTOM LINE Hankins, who carried the nickname "Big John" or "Big Hank" around Ohio State’s campus, is a load to handle on the defensive line with impressive fluidity and coordination skills for a big man, playing with an active motor. He played all over the defense line in college, lining up both outside at DE and inside at DT. Hankins rarely left the field and his coaches talk positively about his football character, but he often looked fatigued and worn down throughout games, meaning his snaps (and weight) will need to be monitored at the next level. Hankins has a rare combination of size, strength and foot quickness for a defensive lineman to be a force against both the run and the pass. Although he only looks half-speed at times when his tank isn’t full, Hankins can tear through blocks like paper -– a potential top-12 pick with the versatility to line up as a traditional 3-technique DT in a four-man front or an effective two-gapping 0-technique NT for a 3-4 defense.
A two-year starter, Hankins was a 3-star recruit out of high school, choosing Ohio State over Michigan, Michigan State and Oklahoma.
He saw some playing time as a true freshman reserve in 2010, recording 16 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack. Hankins became a starter in 2011 as a sophomore and had his best statistical season, finishing with 67 tackles, 11.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks, earning All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors.
He started every game again in 2012 as a junior (12 starts), recording 55 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack, earning First Team All-Big Ten honors. Hankins decided to forego his final season of eligibility and enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
"I have decided, with the support of my family, to forego my senior season at Ohio State in order to enter the NFL Draft," Hankins said. "I will always be grateful for the family I have gained here at Ohio State."
Hankins, who carried the nickname "Big John" or "Big Hank" around Ohio State's campus, is a load to handle on the defensive line with impressive fluidity and coordination skills for a big man, playing with an active motor. He played all over the defense line in college, lining up both outside at end and inside at tackle.
Hankins rarely left the field and his coaches talk positively about his football character, but he often looked fatigued and worn down throughout games.
Hankins has a rare combination of size, strength and foot quickness for the defensive line to be a force against both the run and the pass and although he only looks half-speed at times when his tank isn't full, Hankins can tear through blocks like paper - a potential top-10 pick with the versatility to line up as a traditional 3-technique DT in a four-man front or an effective two-gapping 0-technique NT for a 3-4 defense.
Strengths: Hankins has a wide frame with the natural size to carry a lot of weight. He has excellent feet for the position with very good first step quickness and get-off burst to knife through the line of scrimmage and make plays in the backfield.
He is fluid and rangy, dropping in coverage at times and making plays up and down the line of scrimmage. He looks smooth in space with flexible ankles to quickly redirect his momentum and move well in any direction to be a factor on just about every play.
Hankins is a tough run defender with very good awareness and instincts, using his eyes to track the play and body to force the issue. He extends to shrug off blocks and uses his hands to bully blockers, controlling the POA and setting the edge when playing outside. Hankins has extremely strong hands to secure tackles and finish plays once he gets his hands on the ballcarrier.
He has versatility to play inside or outside, seeing a lot of time at both DE and DT in college, also playing on some special teams, blocking a field goal in 2012 (vs. Purdue). Hankins eats up multiple blocks and frequently attracts double-teams. He rarely left the field and started every game the past two seasons for the Buckeyes (25 starts), displaying an obvious passion for the game.
Weaknesses: Hankins relies too much on his upper-body strength at times and needs to play with consistent leverage. He uses his body too much and needs to consistently utilize his hands and limbs.
Hankins doesn't always play smart with several penalties on his resume, including a late hit on the quarterback (vs. Michigan State in 2012). He tends to wear down throughout the course of a game and give streaky effort, looking fatigued and noticeably taking plays off.
Hankins battled a minor knee sprain the past two seasons, wearing a brace much of the time.
He set career-bests statistically as sophomore and failed to reach the same numbers in 2012. Hankins lost 15-plus pounds prior to his junior season and his weight needs to be monitored to stay in shape.
NFL Comparison: Brandon Mebane, DT, Seattle Seahawks - Like Mebane, Hankins is a tough run defender who can disrupt the pocket and dominate 1-on-1 blockers, but at his best when not asked to play every down.-- Dane Brugler
Johnathan Hankins Scouting Report
From June 22nd, 2012
+For a 310+ wide built athlete, he moves surprisingly well upfield
+Able to maintain balance laterally through contact
+Shows balance and body control for a nose tackle in the backfield when finishing tackles
+Played a 0, 1, 3, 5, and 6 technique over the course of last season, showcasing versatility
-Not overly great laterally in rush moves, can’t beat to outside shoulders with athleticism
+Has played a variety of positions of the defensive line, has experience in multiple roles
-Doesn’t show great vision of the ball carrier, doesn’t readjust attacking point well
-Hasn’t had much of a chance to display leadership qualities at Ohio State
-Three other senior projected starters on the roster mean likely minimal leadership duties in 2012
+Wins leverage as he slides inside/play side laterally
+Doesn’t lose balance on initial quick rushes, gains inside position well
+Able to stay low and slip outside shoulder in to attack opening in gaps
+Naturally attracts doubles thanks to wide frame, power and body control down the line
-Despite rushing from many techniques, only gets solid penetration from NT, occasionally at 3-tech
-Lacks counter rush move using his hands that could drastically improve rushing ability
-Drives in with shoulder too much at times, could use hands initially to set up rushes initially
+Size and balance off snap consistently outmatch guards, and occasionally centers doubling
+Keeps feet moving, stays active with lower half
+When in hole, extends horizontally and shuts off hole completely
-Could be more patient in attacking the ball carrier as a rusher
-Tries to be a backfield playmaker at times, allowing for potential cutback lanes
+Understanding of staying engaged while sliding to second blocker to absorb space
+Keeps feet and base wide as both a rusher and when disrupting running lanes
+Fires hands up in short passing plays to disrupt throwing lanes
-Needs to use hands more effectively as a rusher on a consistent basis
-Could stay at home and not be overaggressive as a rusher more consistently
-Does a good, not great job, of setting up stunts/blitzers.
Hankins is a monster of a man, one of the widest nose tackles in college football. That natural size combined with his lower body strength and body control allows him to be at worst an immovable object for offenses to double teams. His ability to keep his feet and drive down the playside part of the line naturally disrupts both zone and man blocking schemes. His ability as a rusher is still raw, but for now, his power and burst off the line are enough to get into the backfield initially and win power battles to make plays in the backfield. With improved hand usage, better understanding of the defense’s game plan, and a handful of rush moves to add to his versatility, and Hankins may develop into a future Top 5 overall pick in the 2013/2014 NFL Draft.
The SB Nation Cleveland site has a recent article claiming that Hankins is listed as a top 10 prospect by Mel Kiper, the ESPN Draft Guru.
The 6-3, 335-pound lineman has impressed NFL scouts with his durability, quickness and his relentless play against the run, and Kiper Jr. has taken notice. Kiper Jr. says he can "occupy multiple blockers against the run" without giving up any ground, and can occasionally make effort plays as a pass-rusher.
Charlie Campbell from Walter Football sees 5 possible Matches for Hankins: Oakland (2nd pick), Carolina (14th), Minnesota (23rd), Indianapolis (24th) and New England (29th). Oakland has aging defensive tackles, and the team needs some young talent on its defensive line. Going to the Raiders in the top 10 is probably the highest that Hankins could hope to go.
The Patriots might be looking at Hankins to replace the aging Vince Wilfork too although they have the next pick after Denver. The other 4 teams are picking before the Broncos as well, so Johnathan may not even be there at 28. Then there are the Steelers, who have the 17th pick. Casey Hampton is 35, in his 12th year and a UFA. They did draft Alameda Ta’amu during last year’s draft, but that didn’t pan out and he was released. That leaves them with Steve McLendon, who had 7 Tackles and 2 Sacks in 16 games last year.
Steel34D from Behind the Steel Curtain ran with that presumption in this article.
Jonathan Hankins 2012
Ohio State DT Johnathan Hankins vs Wisconsin
Johnathan Hankins vs Cal 2012
Hankins is a big body who commands double teams. He will likely end up as a Nose Tackle in a 3-4 scheme. Broncos head coach likes big wide bodies and would have a use for a player who can play all along the Defensive Line. Hankins has a conditioning issue and likes to coast, a trait that occurs with talented players. That and his lack of technique using his hands lead me to believe that Johnathan Hankins needs too much work for a 1st round draft pick. He will end up needing to be a platoon player. The potential is there, but in my opinion he would be a risky pick at #28.
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