1. Johnathan Hankins, Defensive Tackle
At first glance this signing might make no sense. Why would the Packers sign another defensive interior lineman? They already boast a lineup of Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark and Muhammad Wilkerson. Not to mention Dean Lowry and Montravius Adams filling into the rotation.
Johnathan Hankins is no ordinary defensive lineman though. The Indianapolis Colts surprisingly released him one year after signing a three-year, $27 million contract.
Still just 26-years-old, Hankins is a legitimate top ten one-technique defensive tackle. Not to mention he’s entering the prime of his career. Hankins received a grade of 85.0 from Pro Football Focus last season.
If the Packers have learned anything from a recent trend in the NFL, it’s depth, depth – and oh yeah, more depth on the defensive line. Just look at what the Philadelphia Eagles implemented last season. They had a rotation of nine exceptional big men up front, which allowed star pass rushers like Brandon Graham and Chris Long to save their energy for the fourth quarter.
A signing like Hankins would allow players like Daniels and Wilkerson to save more gas in the tank for later in games. How many times last season would we see Daniels come out firing on all cylinders, only to lose steam by the start of the fourth quarter?
The addition of Hankins only makes sense. He wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, and would allow the Packers to rest starters during certain periods while not having too much of a drop-off in talent. Unless it’s due to an underlying medical condition, it remains unclear why Hankins remains unsigned.