Johnathan Hankins DT Ohio State #52
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Size/Athleticism: Prototypical build for a nose tackle. Built like a true space-eater, but athletic enough to make some plays in the backfield. Struggled with weight issues early in his career. Came to Ohio State weighing around 350 pounds, but has been able maintain a playing weight around 330. Being able to keep his weight down will be key to ability to be a three-down lineman at the next level.
Run Defense: Can play the role of space-eater and hold his ground against double teams at the point of attack. One of the few nose tackle prospects that can make some plays in pursuit. He’s obviously not the fasted lineman on the field, but he gives a great effort in pursuit and will occasionally make some plays simply by being in the right place at the right time. Will occasionally line up at defensive end for Ohio State, primarily when they’re anticipating a run to a particular side of the line.
Pass Rush: Surprisingly quick off the snap. Does a great job staying low. His size, coupled with his ability to stay low and leverage his way into the backfield makes him extremely difficult to block and almost impossible in a one-on-one matchup. Bull rush is his go-to move to get into the backfield, but he is also involved in a number of stunt plays on the Ohio State defensive line. Occasionally lines up at defensive end and loops inside, which allows him to generate some momentum before engaging with an offensive linemen making his bull rush nearly impossible to stop.
Intangibles: Soft-spoken off the field. Coaches speak highly of his work ethic and his leadership, especially working with the younger defensive linemen on the team.
Durability: Suffered a knee injury in 2011 but continued to play with the help of a knee brace.
Comments: Former Ohio State defensive coordinator compares Hankins to Ryan Pickett, a former 1st-round pick who has played nose tackle but has also proven to be athletic enough to line up at defensive end for the Packers over the past few seasons. Hankins won’t be the most impressive looking lineman at the combine – he’s sort of built like a bowling ball, and is more pudgy than you’d like to see – but his athleticism shows on the field. What impresses me most about Hankins is his conditioning. He’s demonstrated the ability to stay on the field and, most importantly, remain productive for 30+ plays per game, which is rare for a guy carrying around 330 pounds.