The Las Vegas Raiders defense has struggled all year long but one aspect remains constant: the run defense has been excellent.
By now, everyone’s familiar with how much of a liability the Raiders’defense has been all year. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther has been the subject of intense scrutiny due to those shortcomings. The biggest reason for all this fuss is the lack of a pass rush from the Raiders defensive line. Not all is negative though, thanks in part to Johnathan Hankins, the Silver and Black have been able to defend the run.
Hankins Has Aided The Raiders Run Defense in 2020
The 28-year-old defensive tackle signed with the Silver and Black back in 2018. In that season, Hankins amassed 36 combined tackles and two fumble recoveries. For his efforts, he was awarded a two-year extension last year by the Raiders’ brass.
Recently, Pro Football Focus spotlighted Hankins and his efforts. They stated on social media that Hankins’ run defense grades out at 88.3 which leads all defensive linemen in the NFL. Statistically speaking, Hankins does not have any sacks but does have 17 total tackles and one hit in 2020. Be that as it may, his biggest contribution has been in stopping the run. The Raiders have only allowed 820 rushing yards and an average of 4.6 yards per attempt.
Stopping the run isn’t flashy but it’s extremely important for a defense. It forces opposing offenses to beat you through the air, unfortunately, the Raiders have been unable to stop anyone in that department. For now, it’s worth celebrating Hankins’ efforts along that defensive line. At least for the foreseeable future, he’ll be a key cog in the defense as Guenther looks to put the whole puzzle together.
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*Top Photo: Eric Risberg/Associated Press