Johnathan Hankins | Defensive tackle | Ohio State | 6'3, 322 pounds
A very good defensive tackle is sort of like a very good cornerback. When a defensive tackle is good, teams stop running in his direction. For Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins, that was was often the case in 2012. Unless he was being double teamed, it was hard to find plays where the run came in Hankins' direction.
Coming out of Michigan, Hankins wasn't a highly coveted recruit. He wasn't recruited heavily by Michigan or Michigan State, but got on the field for Ohio State as a true freshman. He was a full-time starter for his sophomore and junior seasons and became the key player OSU's defensive front seven was based around.
Strictly looking at his size, many think that Hankins is merely a nose tackle. While he did line up over the center, Hankins was often used as a five-technique lining up on the outside shoulder the offensive tackle on pass downs. On run plays, Hankins was typically playing three-technique. The defense would be overloaded on the field side while Hankins was in charge of maintaining boundary side integrity. Hankins' play against the run was no more evident than against Michigan State. He only had three tackles, but because he forced the run to the field side, Le'Veon Bell had only 45 yards rushing.
Showing his athleticism, Ohio State even dropped Hankins in coverage some as a junior. While he's not particular dangerous as a pass defender, he shows how Hankins can be uniquely utilized. That same athleticism can be shown in the burst Hankins has to close on the ball carrier. When he hustles, Hankins has the athleticism to move horizontally and make plays at the sidelines.
As a junior, Hankins was often commanded doubled teams, particularly on passing downs. On running downs, he was doubled when the play came his direction. When it didn't, teams could solo block Hankins and he typically beat the lineman.
Ohio State made a point of using Hankins more in 2012, and he may have been overused. Playing so many snaps, Hankins wore down late in some games. Had questionable effort at times as a junior. Maybe it was because of overuse or because he was discouraged by consistent double teams.
Has a decent but not great first step. Isn't the kind of tackle that can fire through gaps and get into the backfield. Doesn't provide much as a pass rusher. Uses a spin move to shed blocks, but it doesn't get him into the backfield.
Although Hankins is strong – it's hard not to be at 320 pounds – he could add some strength to his game. Against a powerhouse Wisconsin offensive line, Hankins was stonewalled at times. While he wasn't put on the ground, he was pushed off the line against single blockers. It was a highlight reel game for Badgers center Travis Frederick. Hankins will need to improve his handwork to get off blockers faster.
Hankins was a highly productive defensive tackle for Ohio State the past two seasons. He was second on the team in tackles in 2011 with 67 and had 55 as a junior while facing double teams. An NFL team will have to monitor his snap counts so he doesn't wear down. Will probably have to continue working on his fitness.
Was criticized by coaches as a freshman for wearing too much and was called a two-down player by defensive coordinator Jim Heacock. Dropped down to 330 pounds as a sophomore and 317 as a junior. Still, NFL teams may be wary of his weight issues.
As we saw with Dontari Poe in the 2012 draft, massive defensive tackles with athleticism get picked early. The same will likely happen with Hankins.
Pro comparison: Phil Taylor, Cleveland Browns
Hankins isn't quite as big as Taylor, but they play in a similar fashion. They're both massive defensive tackles with athleticism to make plays at the sideline. Like Taylor, Hankins can be utilized in several different ways on the defensive line, but teams will have to aware of how many snaps he plays.