One of the Raiders’ most underrated players on the roster plays on the defensive line. Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell get a ton of attention, but it’s defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins that has been the most consistent this season.
Hankins was brought in by Jon Gruen and company to help stop the run and he has certainly accomplished that. According to Pro Football Focus, no defensive tackle in the NFL has been better against the run than Hankins.
Johnathan Hankins has been an absolute BEAST against the run all of 2020!
— PFF Las Vegas Raiders (@PFF_Raiders) November 6, 2020
While he has yet to record a tackle for a loss or sack, Hankins is nearly impossible to move and opens up lanes for linebackers and safeties behind him. Hankins is just too strong to be left alone with one blocker and rarely is moved by double-teams either.
The Raiders need to find a permanent solution next to him as Maliek Collins and Maurice Hurst have rotated in that spot. However, Hankins’ ability to stop the run has allowed the team to be successful through injuries and inconsistent play. They will need him to play at an elite level on Sunday if they want to beat the Chargers in Week 9.
Look for Hankins and company to slow down the Chargers’ rushing attack and force rookie quarterback Justin Herbert to covert long down and distances in this AFC West matchup.