Johnathan Hankins could see first action vs. Eagles

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie defensive tackle says he's ready to play if called upon.

At 0-4, change is always on the horizon. Perhaps the next change could come along the New York Giants' defensive front.

That change could come in the form of rookie defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

Coach Tom Coughlin praised the second-round draft pick out of Ohio State earlier in the week, saying his performance at practice was deserving of more playing time. If it were up to Hankins, he'd jump into the rotation right away.

'If they need me I'm going to come in there and play my role ... I've been patiently waiting.' - Johnathan Hankins

"It's my job to come, and if they need me I'm going to come in there and play my role and hopefully get some tackles and some stops," he said. "I've been patiently waiting, and when the opportunities comes you've got to go out there and take it. If I get the opportunity to play this week (against the Philadelphia Eagles), I'm going to take full advantage of it."

There is always a transition period for rookies, getting acclimated from the college level to that of the pros, and the same goes for Hankins.

The rookie has spent the last few months getting more accustomed to the schemes, the speed of the game and the intensity on the field, but he believes he's making steady progress.

"Preseason was a different type of level. Right now it's the real season, so I'm going to go out there and get a feel and hopefully I catch on pretty fast," Hankins said. "I would say I feel a little more comfortable with the scheme, the plays and just going out there and making please. I'm not worrying about messing up because this is a game and you're going to have those types of mistakes.

"I'm just going to give as much as I can."

Defensive tackles Cullen Jenkins, Linval Joseph and Shaun Rogers were all on the injury report Wednesday. With three of the Giants' four usual defensive tackles banged up Hankins' time could come Sunday.

Hankins' first test could come in the form of a high-paced, up-tempo Eagles offense starring LeSean McCoy. The NFL's leading rusher through the first quarter mark of the season, McCoy has already tallied 468 yards on the ground for Philly's top-ranked rushing attack.

Then you factor in Michael Vick, a threat not only with his arms but with his legs, and it's a big challenge in what could Hankins' first real challenge. But the rookie is not phased; he was drafted to do a job and he's up to the task at hand.

"Stopping the run is what they drafted me here for and just help out with the defensive line," he said. "(McCoy and Vick) lead the NFL in rushing. I'm going to do my best and we're going to do our best to stop that ... It's definitel a big challenge, and I'm up to it."

Follow Sam on Twitter @SamSpiegs

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