Former Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins recently inked a three-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts, and left a big hole to fill on all fronts. Although big blue has other needs to address, Auburn defensive tackle Montavious Atkinson could be a suitable replacement for the departed Hankins.
At 6 feet 4 inches and weighing in at 304 pounds with a 4.87 second 40-yard dash, Atkinson has the combination of size to clog gaps up the middle and the athleticism to shed blockers and smother opposing running backs.
In 2016, Atkinson was a second-team All-SEC selection with 8.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, and much of his success was due to his ability to be a force when working in the gaps and his explosiveness when the ball is snapped.
His powerful lower body allows him to disrupt double teams and other blocking schemes, and he played with consistent tenacity all of last season.
On the downside, Atkinson fails to keep his head and eyes up when he makes initial contact with opposing offensive linemen, and he needs to work on improving his hands and getting off of blocks.
Despite his great 40-yard dash time, Atkinson lacks the lateral mobility to be a truly effective pass rusher. He also doesn’t always play up to his talent level at times.
Overall, Atkinson can be a disruptive force on the defensive line, plugging up holes and stifling running backs at the line of scrimmage like Hankins was so accustomed to doing.
The fact that he underachieves at times is a bit concerning, but if Atkinson falls to the third round or lower, don’t be surprised if the New York Giants take a chance on him to further bolster the strongest part of their defense.