With the Dallas Cowboys focused on improving their rush defense, the team made a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders to acquire defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins for a draft pick.
Throughout the 2022 season so far, the Dallas Cowboys defense has shown up to play every single down. Save for one out-of-the-ordinary showing against division rival Philly, the Cowboys defense has shut other teams’ offenses down almost completely. During their seven games this season, they are second in points allowed (102), second in turnover differential (+6), and second in the league in total sacks (20).
They have clearly shown they are one of the league’s elites on defense but have lacked in one main category: the run game. While they continue to dominate pass defense, they have shown a lack of run-stopping ability. The Dallas Cowboys are 20th in the league in rushing yards per game allowing 120.1 yards per game this season.
Dallas has been looking for ways to improve against the run since most fans know they are going to be making a potential deep run in the playoffs. Tuesday, they made an under-the-radar, but potentially big move to bolster their defensive line run-stopping. The ‘Boys sent a 2023 sixth-round pick to the LV Raiders in exchange for Johnathan Hankins and a 2024 seventh-round pick.
How Johnathan Hankins Helps Cowboys Defense
While this isn’t a flashy deal, it could have large implications. Johnathan Hankins is a massive run-stopping defensive lineman in his tenth year in the league. Hankins found his dominance on the defensive line starting at Ohio State before being drafted by the New York Giants in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. His stops in the NFL include the Giants, Indianapolis Colts, and the Raiders. So far in his career, Hankins has recorded 271 tackles and 13 sacks in his ten-year career. He’s recorded nine tackles in five games with the Raiders in 2022.
Standing at 6’3” and 340 pounds, Johnathan Hankins will be the missing piece the Dallas Cowboys need to stop the run. While he isn’t a huge playmaker in terms of tackles or sacks, he often draws multiple blockers. This will free up some of the Cowboys’ linebackers and their safety Donovan Wilson to make some big plays in the trenches.
According to PFF, they currently rank Johnathan Hankins ahead of all the Cowboy’s run-stoppers, which is surprising considering the immense talent, speed, and tackling ability on the defensive line already. While their run defense currently ranks 14th, adding Hankins to the mix should get them into the top ten and only help them get better. He’s already joining a deep defensive line that includes Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, Dante Fowler Jr., Dorance Armstrong, and Sam Williams.
This move acquiring Johnathan Hankins makes a ton of sense for the Cowboys and it will be interesting to see how Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn gets him involved in the defensive scheme. He can be an immediate contributor to the defense at a very low cost. Another great move by the front office that on paper should surely up a defensive weakness.