With all the Defensive tackle prospects mocked to or landing here in Carolina one name that is not mentioned in the same context as a Star Lotulelei or Sheldon Richardson is Johnathan Hankins. A prospect I myself was not high on in the beginning of the whole draft process. It had a lot to due in the fact I felt he underwhelmed during his junior campaign. Plus it is believed he could have problems with weight issues at the next level. I have changed my mind on both.
Hankins has the potential to be a monster of a DT at the NFL level. His value will come as a part of him being able to hold the point of attack and command double teams from NFL offensive lines. That in turn will free up the DE's to reek havoc against opposing QB's. It will also free up linebackers as our very own Luke Kuechly to make plays and tackles for minimal, to no gains. Imagine if this defensive front had a player of the shear mass and great foot work that Hankins possesses anchoring the middle of that line.
There is some knocks on Hankins stamina and motor but I for one after watching film on him think most of these issues came from the fact Ohio State played a man that stands at 6'3" and weighs 325 lbs about 85% of the snaps the defense was on the field. Even NFL caliber DT's get tired if they are on the field that long at that size for that many snaps. I believe this is why Hankins looked wore down during some of his film study. If you were to pair Hankins as a starter in a rotation with the likes of a Colin Cole or Sione Fua you would get a fresher Hankins throughout the course of an NFL game and length of a season.
If Johnathan Hankins is setting there in the second round at the 44th pick does Gettleman and Rivera pull the trigger? Hankins is a big body that Rivera covets in his defensive tackles. Hankins also compares favorably to another prospect Rivera scouted hard during his first season as the Panthers head coach. That would be Phil Taylor of the Cleveland Browns. Taylor was picked in the latter part of that same first round we drafted Cam in. Maybe this time around Rivera could have the chance to land a player he did not have the opportunity to a couple of years earlier.