When a nickname like “Big Hank” precedes you, people picture a mound of a football player there to clog the middle.
While Johnathan Hankins is that, the defensive tackle is also much more. He proved it in college, and now he’s out to do it again on the big stage. But first, the Giants’ second-round draft pick has to prove it on the practice field, which he continued to do during this week’s minicamp.
“That I was not just a big guy,” the Ohio State product said about what he wanted to prove from day one with the Giants.
“I can move, I can pass rush, and I can be a factor out there. With the schemes that they’ve got now, they’ve got me basically playing what I was in college – a little end, a little inside, so pretty much everywhere on the line. I’m just learning all the positions and the plays.”
Last season, under orders from first-year head coach Urban Meyer, Hankins slimmed down to 320 pounds -- his current weight -- during the Buckeyes’ 12-0 campaign in 2012, enabling him to remain on the field for 85.7 percent of snaps on defense.
In addition to building the stamina to play all downs, Hankins also received a jumpstart on NFL tutelage.
Mike Vrabel, the former outside linebacker who won three Super Bowls with the Patriots, took over as Meyer’s defensive line coach in 2012. He previously coached the linebackers at OSU in 2011, the year he retired from the NFL.
Now Giants defensive line coach Robert Nunn is picking up where Vrabel left off.
“It was an honor for [Vrabel] to coach us, seeing him play in the NFL and winning Super Bowls,” Hankins said. “He really brought the physical standpoint to the defensive line. He was very, ‘Never let an offensive lineman dictate or get their hands on you.’ He really stressed more technique and hands, and I’m trying to carry that on here. I know that’s what coach Nunn stresses, too. I’m in a good place.”
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