With our first pick in the 2013 SB Nation Writers Mock Draft, we tabbed Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner. . .a move that drew mixed reactions. While we took the best player available (in our opinion) with our first selection, with our second pick, we grabbed a player that is not only immensely talented, but also fills a significant weakness for our favorite football team.
With no middle linebackers at this point that really made anyone stop in their tracks, and with the wide receiver pool being deep enough that a solid contributor could likely be found in the second round, we went with a chance to plug the Vikings' need at defensive tackle, where Kevin Williams is aging. Fred Evans and Letroy Guion, while they've had their moments, aren't really seen as big-time players at the position. A guy like Hankins, who started this draft season as a potential top 5-10 pick, would definitely be able to come in and contribute immediately to the Vikings' defense.
In fact, according to the folks at Walter Football. . .a source that I've seen cited quite a bit around here. . .Hankins will probably remind Vikings' fans of a guy that we're all pretty familiar with.
Player Comparison: Pat Williams
It is crazy to think that Williams, a three-time Pro Bowler, went undrafted. Obviously that won't be the case with Hankins as he is a consensus first-round pick.
While Williams went undrafted, he and Hankins have a similar style of play. Williams was a tremendous run-defender who ate up double teams and was impossible to move at the line of scrimmage. Hankins did that at Ohio State and should be able to continue that in the NFL. Williams (6-3, 317) has nearly the same measurements as Hankins.
The big difference between the two is in that Hankins should offer more as a pass-rusher. Like Williams, Hankins won't rack up a big sack total, but he should be able to get some pressure on the quarterback and collapse the pocket. I could see Hankins turning into a defender like Williams in the NFL.
The next Pat Williams at #25 in the first round? Sounds awfully good to me.
Hankins was the best defender on an Ohio State defense that went 12-0 in college football this past season, and played all over the defensive line, whether it was right over the center, across from the guard, or even a little bit at defensive end. With the Vikings, he would likely start out as a two-down player, with the potential to develop into significantly more than that. Matched up with our first round pick in Werner, as I think I saw someone mention in the comments section yesterday, in obvious passing situations it would make sense for the Vikings' to do something similar to what the New York Giants do and play four defensive ends up front. In this case, it would be Jared Allen, Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, and Bjoern Werner in some configuration.
One of the big knocks on Hankins is his condition, but really. . .the guy's 325 pounds. A lot of guys his size have "conditioning issues." An off-season in an NFL strength and conditioning program would probably do a lot to alleviate those concerns.
So, our first two selections are in for this year's SB Nation Writers Mock Draft. We have one more pick, our second rounder at #52, that will be posted sometime next week.