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Who Is The Giants' Unsung Hero?

Do the New York Giants even have an unsung hero?

Hank Smash!
Hank Smash!
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For this week's GMC Playbook question, Marshall Faulk wants to know who is the New York Giants' unsung hero.

It's a good question.

In New York, the lights shine brighter than most, and it is hard for a player to fly under the radar. Even players who don't get enough credit for their good play, like Will Beatty or Jason Pierre-Paul, don't go unnoticed. Is it possible for a team in a fishbowl like the Giants to even have an unsung hero?

I think so.

And I think his name is Johnathan Hankins. In fact, I will go so far as to say that he is one of the league's unsung heroes.

Big Hank is one of those guys who commentators will credit as being a good player, but as a defensive tackle he is one of the very best in the league. Week in, week out, Hankins dominates the line of scrimmage.

Pro Football Focus ranks Hankins as the sixth-best defensive tackle in the whole league.

He has an overall grade of +18.7, with a run defense grade of + 7.0, and a rush grade of +10.3.

His run defense is good -- ranked 26th in the league -- , but his pass rush ability is incredibly surprising. He is credited with 4 sacks, 3 quarterback hits, and 16 hurries in 198 pass rush snaps.

To save you some math, Hankins gets some kind of pressure on the quarterback on better than 11 percent of his pass rush opportunities.

That productivity in the passing game puts Hankins as the second-most effective interior pass rusher in the entire league. He is more disruptive than heralded pass rushers like Gerald McCoy, Ndamukong Suh, Geno Atkins, and Aaron Donald, and second only to a resurgent Henry Melton.

For a comparison, Hankins only got five sacks total in his three years at Ohio St. That -- along with playing too many snaps -- was a big reason why Hankins fell to the second round of the draft.

After the second round of the 2013 draft, there was a strong contingent of Giants fans who wanted Jerry Reese's head on a pike for ignoring the linebacker position and drafting Johnathan Hankins. But, I think you would all join me in raising your beverage of choice in salute of the Giants' unsung hero: Johnathan Hankins.

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