NFL draft: Giants take ex-Buckeye Hankins in 2nd round

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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Kyle Robertson | Dispatch
Former Ohio State defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins says he’s excited by the New York Giants’ championship pedigree.

If Johnathan Hankins was deeply disappointed in not being a first-round selection on Thursday in the NFL draft, he didn’t show it, especially after he took a call from the New York Giants in middle of the second round last night.

“I’m very excited. My family is very excited,” said the former Ohio State defensive tackle, who spent the past two nights watching the draft at his family’s home in Detroit. “I’m just ready to go to work right now so we can win the Super Bowl. I’m real pumped.

“I’ve been working hard for this moment … and I felt like this was a good pick for me and I’m ready to work hard and keep going.”

Hankins has been the only Buckeye taken through three rounds of the draft, with the final four today. Defensive lineman John Simon — the Big Ten defensive player of the year — right tackle Reid Fragel, tight end Jake Stoneburner, linebacker Etienne Sabino and perhaps fullback/linebacker Zach Boren are expected to get calls today.

Hankins was the only of those draft-eligible Buckeyes who left school with a year of eligibility remaining. He announced his decision in December, and draft analysts projected him as a top-15 pick. Then came questions about his stamina and a fall-off in production, and he slid from sure first-round pick to the fringe.

“We had him identified as a first-round guy,” said Marc Ross, the Giants’ director of college scouting after New York used the 17th pick in the second round and 49th overall on Hankins. “Some people might have been scared off by his lack of sack production (one in 2012) … and some I’ve heard, ‘his stamina.’ “OK, the guy is 320 pounds and he plays every snap. So if he wears down at the end of a 60-play game, I could understand that. You have to look at his body of work, dig deep into who he is. He’s a great kid. He loves football. He’s going to work his butt off. So those concerns that others might have, we didn’t have.”

What that slide to the middle of the second round cost Hankins won’t be known for a while. Last year, according to various reports, players taken in the lower part of the first round received four-year contracts in the area of $6 million to $7 million, with a signing bonus of $2.5 million to $3 million. Players taken in the middle of the second round got four-year contracts worth $3.7 million with just over a $1 million signing bonus.

Hankins didn’t care to cry over spilled milk last night, though. He looked forward to joining the Giants, who won recent Super Bowls after the 2007 and 2011 seasons, but who also are rebuilding on defense.

“Just to get that call from the New York Giants and just be able to play for them and the history they have of winning championships — I’m ready to come along and help as much as I can,” Hankins said.

Ross was straightforward about the team’s initial role for Hankins as a run-stop tackle on a defense that was run on regularly last season.

“To us, his skill set was easy to identify,” Ross said. “You watch him play … and he just shuts people down when they try to run the ball. Whether it’s taking on one block, two blocks, he just bangs inside, he holds the point. And you need those guys to win. It helps everybody on your defense. It helps your linebackers get free.

“We really like that about him. … This guy is kind of a rarity nowadays, somebody who does that dirty work inside, and he likes it.”

Hankins still needs development, especially in the pass-rushing realm, but Ross said the Giants gladly took Hankins for what he is at the moment.

“You’d like a defensive tackle who is big, and athletic, and fast, and can do everything, but that’s just not the reality nowadays,” Ross said. “A guy is either one or the other. So this is a big, wide-body presence inside.”

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports

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