Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 04-13-17

Dave Klein was the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he is one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.


By Dave Klein
It took more than a month, and it was a long-fought, nerve-rattling battle, but the Giants finally lost their prized defensive tackle.

Jonathan Hankins, their second-round draft pick in 2013, ended the cat-and-mouse competition by accepting a three-year, $30 million contract from the Indianapolis Colts, $14.5 million of which is guaranteed.

In addition, he'll receive $10 million this season, which for a brief time allows him to claim that he got what he wanted -- $10 million a year. That will make him the NFL's highest-paid defensive tackle in 2017.

So there goes the so-called "Dream Team" front four of ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon along with the other tackle, Snacks Harrison, which might have become the best quartet of maiming and disfiguring offenses in the league.

Now there are choices for head coach Ben McAdoo and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Who is there to fill in for Hankins, for one thing? Is it going to be Jay Bromley, who has been around since 2014, when he was a third-round draft pick? Will it be one of the unknowns, such as Robert Thomas, Jordan Williams and Romeo Okwara?

Will there be a first-round pick dedicated to a defensive tackle? Among the possibilities are Jonathan Allen of Alabama (6-3, 290), Malik McDowell of Michigan State (6-6, 295) or a slight long shot, the 6-3, 310-pound Caleb Brantley of Florida, considered by most a second rounder.

Perhaps Spagnuolo will tinker with the thought of a modified 3-4 formation, a version of which he used during the two Super Bowl runs (42 and 46) when he employed pass-rushing defensive ends up and down the line and named it his NASCAR formation.

In any case, it was a blow to what was shaping up as one of the top defenses in the NFL, but now that Hankins has officially joined the ranks of Barry Cofield and Linval Joseph, other high-choice defensive tackles who left as Unrestricted Free Agents, there will be considerable questioning and experimenting until a formula is reached.

There was no immediate comment from any of the Giants' front office or coaching staff - although none of them is likely to express any pleasant statements - but the facts are the facts: Hankins is gone and the Giants will receive comparable compensatory draft picks in the 2018 college player selection.

For this coming season, dreams of the best front four in the league have gone up in Indianapolis smoke.

Check out Dave's website at E-GIANTS where you can subscribe to his newsletters which run much more frequently than what is available here.
- Team Giants

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