Jan 20, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (75) lines up against the Baltimore Ravens in the first quarter of the AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
Mock Drafts are always so much fun. We read them to see what national and local pundits are thinking. What positions and what players do they think we need. Rarely do we seem to trust our own eyes and instincts as fans. This stems from the knowledge we believe we lack in assessing all things football. After all, we are fans, and football is not our occupation. However, as fans, we do have an in-depth knowledge of the our players and our roster.
Now that free agency has begun to settle down a bit, we can begin to look at our draft needs. In my opinion, I firmly believe the Saints need a War Daddy–a player with exceptional toughness and ability–a Nose Tackle that consumes a lot of attention from the offensive line and double teams. An immovable object and a massive human being — think Casey Hampton or Vince Wilfork.
It is time to get a War Daddy.
There are the top defensive tackles. Their rankings vary by analyst.
- Star Lotulelei
- Sharrif Floyd
- Kawann Short
- Johnathan Hankins
- Sheldon Richardson
Nov 17, 2012; Madison, WI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins (52) during warmups prior to the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Ohio State defeated Wisconsin 21-14 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Out of these possible draft choices, I like Johnathan Hankins. The rub on Hankins is his undisciplined body and lack of endurance. What I like about him is his tenacity and versatility on the field, and the fact he is an immovable object that pushes the OLine back.
- NFL Draft Geek
- Strength and bulk outstanding – ideal height
- Powerful – Does not budge an inch at the point of attack
- Takes on double teams and blockers – effectively eating up space
- Surprisingly quick and athletic for his size
- Intense pursuit and quick diagnosis of plays – does not quit on play
- Versatile – Can be either 3-4 or 4-3
- Fully capable of pushing up the middle and stuffing the run
- Plays too high – loses leverage
- Not a pass rusher – more of a run stuffer
- NFLNetwork – Compared to Terrance Knighton and Vince Wilfork
- Plays all over the line
- Coaches think highly of him and his football character – Known as Big Hank
- Drives back NFL caliber guards into backfield, holds up doubles, and does not give ground against better players – Tears through blocks like paper
- Works the line to the ball carrier even when engaged – Very fluid considering his size
- On the field a lot considering his size – rarely left the field
- Lacks speed to be pass rusher but will make quarter backs uncomfortable
- Relies too much on arm strength and not on consistently on leverage to make plays
- Weight and endurance are a concern – He looked fatigued at times and took plays off
- Walter Football – 2nd ranked Nose Tackle after Lotulelei – Compared to Pat Williams
- Pros and Cons
- He was a key cog in Ohio State’s defense and played a huge role in the Buckeyes enjoying an undefeated season in 2012.
- Hankins is impossible to move from the point of attack. He is a tremendous run-defender who holds his ground and makes a lot of tackles on runs up the middle. Hankins also pursues well on runs away from him and is able to get in on more tackles than one would think. He has deceptive speed to make plays out of his gap
- The heavy defensive tackle isn’t just a big-bodied run-stuffer. Hankins has serious quickness that he uses to fire into his gap and disrupt plays. Hankins’ quickness catches many offensive linemen by surprise. He is capable of getting good penetration into the pocket to hurry quarterbacks and take away space for them to step up towards the line of scrimmage.
- Pros and Cons
- ESPN – Pros and Cons
- Doesn’t back down when teams commit two blockers to him. Above average motor, especially for his size and body type. Makes more effort plays than expected. Doesn’t come of the field very much but noticeably wears down as games progress.
- Exceptional against the run and below average against the pass
- Needs to work harder in weight room and do a better job with his nutrition. Coaches say positive things about his football character. No off-the-field issues to our knowledge.
- CBS Sports – Pros and Cons
- 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 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
- 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.
In my opinion, Hankins has a huge upside and should be well worth a look by the Saints.