As Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins enters his eighth NFL season, he will have far more assistance to perform at a high level as a run defender compared to previous years.
The Raiders interior defensive line has a new look in 2020. The team acquired three key components from the Dallas Cowboys to help shore up the middle of the defensive front. More specifically, defensive tackles Maliek Collins and Daniel Ross bring schematic experience and new blood to the position. Additionally, new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli will provide a vast knowledge of techniques and coaching experience to help propel the entire defensive line.
Johnathan Hankins was an underrated defender for the Raiders in 2019
The Raiders defense had a dreadful year in 2019. The pass defense was abysmal. According to Sharp Football Stats, the Raiders ranked 31st in explosive pass plays allowed (15 yards or more). The rush defense wasn’t much better, as they ranked 22nd in that category (10 yards or more). However, in terms of individual run defense, Hankins proved to be a consistent asset every week.
Raiders currently rank 5th in NFL in rushing defense (86.7 yards/game). Big reason why is DT Johnathan Hankins (@BigTimeHank). Shows up on film every week. Argument could be made he has been Raiders most consistent defender this season.#Raiders #Raidernation pic.twitter.com/zPNAgms9Qj
— Ryan Holmes (@Rholm22) October 23, 2019
In addition, Hankins ranked in the top 20 of interior defensive linemen as a run defender according to Pro Football Focus. Similarly, he frequently delivered when the Silver and Black’s defense needed a stop in short-yardage situations last season.
4th & 1. DT Johnathan Hankins (@BigTimeHank) makes tackle for no gain. Gains leverage on the C, gets under pads gets hands inside with extension. DT P.J. Hall takes on double team and holds point.#Raidernation pic.twitter.com/aamgv1DQgE
— Ryan Holmes (@Rholm22) December 3, 2019
Above all, Johnathan will be ready to be a major contributor in Las Vegas yet again in 2020.
As the Raiders transition to Las Vegas, there has been a wide variety of anticipation surrounding the team. However, Hankins isn’t often in those discussions. Despite the lack of media attention, it hasn’t stopped the veteran from putting in work this offseason.
— Kenny King Jr (@KennyKing_Jr) March 10, 2020
On the other hand, head coach Jon Gruden spoke up for the nose tackle in a press conference last Thursday.
“Hankins is a guy nobody’s talking about. He’s really been a good player for us. He’s in great shape and bought into the Marinelli factor.”
For Hankins, the Silver and Black are more than ready to see him contribute more as a pass rusher as seen below.
Maxx Crosby (@CrosbyMaxx) with 1.5 sacks vs Broncos to bring season total to 10. 1st start was in week 5. Not bad for a 4th round pick. Will split this sack with DT Johnathan Hankins (@BigTimeHank). 2 foundational pieces moving forward.#Raidernation pic.twitter.com/STEa27jMmR
— Ryan Holmes (@Rholm22) December 31, 2019
Ideally, Marinelli will be able to maximize his potential as a pass rusher this season. In conclusion, Hankins has the ability to have an even larger impact on the interior of the Silver and Black’s defense in 2020.
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Top Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images