Across all the SB Nation NFL blogs we’re writing about a player that we are really excited about this season and we’re calling this hype week. The Indianapolis Colts had a number of good options but none as exciting as DT Johnathan Hankins.
No Colts defensive free agent signing has joined the team with higher expectations in the Andrew Luck era than Hankins. He has been a starting interior defensive lineman playing on better than 60% of his team’s defensive snaps on one of the more respected defensive lines in the NFL since his second season — he missed 7 games 2014 with pectoral injury that reduced his usage total to 30%.
More importantly, he has played the zero-technique and three-technique role and has found success in both. Giants fans swear that his strongest position was at nose tackle. In his last season playing the zero-technique he racked up 7 sacks and 30 tackles. To put that into perspective, early in the free agency process a lot of Colts fans hoped to snag Dontari Poe from the Kansas City Chiefs. His best year generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks was also in 2014, where he tallied 6 sacks on the season.
Poe’s career total is 13 sacks over five seasons, with 8.5 coming in the last three. Hankins’ career total is 10 sacks over four seasons, with 10 coming in the last three.
Aiding Hankins and making it even more likely that he can live up to the hype is that he is joining a highly underrated Colts defensive line that already has a strong core to build upon. If Kendall Langford returns to full health from a knee injury that sidelined him for the first time in his career and if Henry Anderson builds upon the promise he showed early in his rookie season, now more than a year removed from his ACL surgery, Hankins could become the key cog of a very strong unit.
The last year Langford was fully healthy, 2015, he racked up 7 sacks. In Henry Anderson’s rookie season he tallied 43 tackles — averaging nearly four tackles a game over 11 games — which projects to a monster total of 64 tackles (Dontari Poe’s highest single season total was 51).
Additionally, the Colts may have surprising depth on their defensive line for the first time that will allow players like TY McGill, Hassan Ridgeway, Grover Stewart, or David Parry keep him fresh throughout the game (if they all make the roster).
Of course, pictures are worth thousands of words, so take a look for yourself at the kind of impact Johnathan Hankins can have on the Colts defense.
If a couple of images don’t help convince you, this video makes it pretty clear that there is no reason to expect anything less from Johnathan Hankins than that he will live up to the hype he brings to the Colts. No one believes this more than Johnathan Hankins himself. If you’re not sure, just ask him.
Right now I feel like we got probably the best defense in the AFC," Hankins said. "On paper, it looks good, but we've got to go out there and prove it. We've got a great quarterback here, as y'all know, Andrew Luck, and some great weapons on offense. So, if we can just come together during OTAs, and once training camp starts, get a good feel of everybody and just trust each other, I feel like we'll be real dominant out there.
I know I’m not the only one who is excited to see Hankins and the Colts defense take the field for the first time. If they are anywhere close to dominant, at any point in the season, the Colts may be the most dangerous team in the NFL.
Please also visit Stampede Fanpost, “Analysis of Johnathan Hankins” for a fanpost from coltbaba.