An interesting bit of trivia: the New York Giants have used a second round selection on a defensive tackle in three out of the past five NFL Drafts. These players are: Linval Joseph in 2010, Marvin Austin in 2011 and most recently Johnathan Hankins in 2013.
Going into the 2013 NFL Training Camp, Hankins will occupy the second team spot at right defensive tackle, and the player that gets the starting nod over the Giants’ second-round draft pick is veteran Cullen Jenkins.
However, the Giants have a total of seven defensive tackles on the depth chart including Hankins. Moreover, the Giants are known to run a style of defense that features a heavy rotation at the defensive tackle position.
To put this in perspective, the Giants’ 2012 defensive tackle sack leader was Joseph, who racked up a mere four. Also, Joseph is the only defensive tackle still on the Giants depth chart that started and played in all 16 games during 2012.
At this point, the Giants don’t have any Reggie White-like talent at defensive tackle. The only current defensive tackle on the Giants with Pro Bowl appearances to his name is the aging Shaun Rogers.
This signifies that there is a relatively high possibility that Hankins will move upward on the right defensive tackle depth chart. Considering that Jenkins has played all 16 games in both 2011 and 2012, it would be unexpected for the veteran tackle to go down with an injury and hence open up an opportunity for Hankins to get the starting nod.
Hankins’ biggest threat in camp would most likely be the defensive tackle that sits behind him on the depth chart: Austin, a player who was once heralded as a top-10 level talent, but fell to the second round in the 2011 NFL Draft due to character concerns that swelled up in the wake of a North Carolina scandal.
Austin was once thought to have starting potential for the Giants, but has missed his first two seasons due to an abundance of injuries—a trend that started with a torn pectoral muscle that ended his rookie season before its commencement.
If Austin can finally find a way to stay healthy, then the 2011 NFL Draft second round pick could jeopardize Hankins’ position on the depth chart.
Hankins is a player whose affable nature and brute strength have both been well publicized. 2013 may be a year for him to get a decent amount of playing time amidst a crowded defensive tackle depth chart. But hard work must be generated in camp, or the oft-injured Austin may finally make his presence felt.