Buckeye Monday at the NFL Combine

By Ramzy Nasrallah on February 25, 2013 at 6:00a

Big Hank, Etienne Sabino, Nathan Williams and John Simon have job interviews with the NFL today. Quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs scurried home yesterday knowing these four guys were showing up today.


Johnathan Hankins -

STRENGTHS Nice job against the run, tracking the play with his eyes and using his body to force the issue. Taller nose tackle prospect with thick upper body and extra girth in the middle. Plays all over the line, often outside the tackle despite his build because of his rare agility. Extends to shrug off blocks and uses his hands to bully blockers, controlling the POA and setting the edge when playing outside. Has extremely strong hands to secure tackles and finish plays once he gets his hands on the ballcarrier. 

Comes off the ball hard and quick for his size, will win a gap and blow up plays in the backfield if linemen don’t get to the reach-block. Drives back NFL-caliber guards into the backfield and holds up doubles, does not give ground even against better players. Works down the line to get to ballcarriers while engaged, and hustles downfield and to the sideline if needed. Three-down player, on the field for a lot of snaps considering his bulk.

WEAKNESSES Lacks the burst to be an elite pass rusher, though he can make quarterbacks uncomfortable in the pocket. Can play with high pads, giving better linemen a chance to stand him up. Relies too much on his upper body strength at times and needs to play with consistent leverage. He uses his body too much and needs to consistently utilize his hands and limbs. Must keep his weight under control to maximize his athleticism, and make sure he doesn’t lose his strength and hustle at the end of games. He tends to wear down throughout the course of a game, looking fatigued and noticeably taking plays off. Hankins battled a minor knee sprain the past two seasons, wearing a brace much of the time.


BOTTOM LINE Hankins, who carried the nickname “Big John” or “Big Hank” around Ohio State’s campus, is a load to handle on the defensive line with impressive fluidity and coordination skills for a big man, playing with an active motor. He played all over the defense line in college, lining up both outside at DE and inside at DT. Hankins rarely left the field and his coaches talk positively about his football character, but he often looked fatigued and worn down throughout games, meaning his snaps (and weight) will need to be monitored at the next level.

Hankins has a rare combination of size, strength and foot quickness for a defensive lineman to be a force against both the run and the pass. Although he only looks half-speed at times when his tank isn’t full, Hankins can tear through blocks like paper -– a potential top-12 pick with the versatility to line up as a traditional 3-technique DT in a four-man front or an effective two-gapping 0-technique NT for a 3-4 defense.


Etienne Sabino -

STRENGTHS Well-built, athletic linebacker who plays on the strong side and in the middle. Fights through blocks in the hole, and is capable of using violent hands to shed and grab running backs. Brings a powerful punch to pulling guards and fullbacks in the run game, and is tough to keep out of the backfield on A-gap blitzes. Shows enough speed to flow with stretch plays outside to make the stop, and hustles to the ball when there’s any chance to make a play.

WEAKNESSES Lateral movement might be an issue if playing outside; he might not stay on the field in nickel situations unless he proves the short-area quickness to do so at the next level. Plays with a high pad level, failing to break down in the hole against quicker ballcarriers. Must get his hands up consistently when attacking blocks, whether on the edge or against running backs on blitzes. Underwhelming career.

NFL COMPARISON Na’il Diggs [11W note: Nah, not really]

BOTTOM LINE Sabino is versatile prospect capable of rushing the passer, handling tight ends, and holding the point as a strong side ‘backer and also works hard to plug holes when lined up inside. Sabino still has upside, but will need to prove he can play on special teams.


Nathan Williams -

STRENGTHS Tough, instinctive player. Upper body power. Challenges the lateral movement of tackles whether playing with his hand down or standing up (and on the left or right side), can accelerate to the quarterback if his man overextends. Contain on bootlegs and misdirection, chases down backs even if they get an advantage on stop-start moves in the backfield. Keeps his eyes in the backfield and uses strong hands to get off blocks to make plays in the hole. Also spin off blocks to grab backs going through the line or chase down scrambling quarterbacks. Plays strong against tight ends outside, showing attitude with his ability to rip off their blocks to free himself.

WEAKNESSES Left knee must check out medically after having microfracture and athroscopic surgery last fall. A lack of bulk allowsbetter linemen to stone Williams’ advances and control him on the edge. A bit of a 'tweener. His get-off, flexibility and hand usage are not quite enough for him to be an elite pass rusher. Doesn't always take the best angles, and his over-aggressive nature can be used against him. Must sense cut blocks more quickly and use his hands to defeat them.


BOTTOM LINE Williams is a bit of a 'tweener, but he's instinctive and can hold up at the point of attack and provide containment. He's not an overly explosive pass rusher, but he could have value to a team as a backup due to his toughness and mental aptitude.


John Simon -

STRENGTHS Strong, high-motor defender. Can break down to tackle ballcarriers in the backfield. Combines agility with excellent upper-body strength to be a secure and explosive tackler. Works down the line with a blocker on his shoulder without giving up ground. Will pressure the upfield shoulder of slower tackles when selling out as a rusher, possesses enough flexibility to capture quarterbacks stepping up in the pocket. Patient when containing, stays engaged until ballcarriers goes inside or outside, then rips off to chase. Uses his hands very well, often batting down the arms of linemen attempting to block him. Displays good pad level. Two-time captain leads his teammates vocally and by example.

WEAKNESSES Shorter than many teams prefer in a defensive lineman, and his length is only adequate. Late to react to the snap, less than stellar first step. Slow in spin move attempts. Can struggle to get off blocks from better tackles and will lose sight of the ball at times. Might need to drop some weight to gain agility and quickness whether playing end or linebacker. Not very experienced getting deep drops in coverage or playing man-up for longer periods of time.


BOTTOM LINE This two-time All-Big Ten pick and two-time Buckeyes captain lacks the height and length most NFL teams want in a defensive end, but teams with less stringent size requirements will covet his exceptional weight-room work ethic. He's late off the ball, and not an explosive athlete, but he understands pad level and hand usage. He's going to have to prove to teams that he can handle himself effectively enough in coverage.


Source: nfl.com/combine


Comments Show All Comments

SMP's picture

Thank you and best of luck to the four working out today. Your individual contributions to the the team and TOSU will be missed.  I hope all four have great showings and are able to improve their draft stock! 
Looks like Big Hank has the best chance to hear his name on day #1.  I think the remaining three could land somewhere in the mid-rounds. 

dubjayfootball90's picture

Good luck, gentlemen. You already made Buckeye Nation proud. Go out and have fun!

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

awwwwwwop's picture

Big Hank just ran an unofficial 5.28 with a 10 yd split of 1.82. Best DL is 4.62 so far.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

awwwwwwop's picture

Fastest is Ansah from BYU Dion Jordan from Oregon with a 4.53.  For comparisons, Gholston from MSU ran a 4.93 that he already forgot about and Sharif Floyd also ran a 4.93

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

Gholston from MSU ran a 4.93 that he already forgot about


awwwwwwop's picture

Thank you Ramzy.  Apparently not paying attention to Secured Transactions has my brain at full speed even at 8 in the morning.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

OSUStu's picture

That is just great.  Haven't seen that movie in far too long.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

awwwwwwop's picture

Hank's second run was a 5.13. Jordan Hill of PSU ran a 5.15 unofficial for more comparison.

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

OSUStu's picture

I can't say that I've ever noticed Big Hank taking plays off.  Is this something others have seen?
Maybe it is easy to miss for a DT.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

Buckeye Chuck's picture

It's hard for me to recall an elite defensive line prospect who has never been accused of "taking plays off." It's as predictable as elite center prospects in basketball invariably being criticized for being lazy.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

Squirrel Master's picture

I think the knee issue is speculation and inaccurate based on the fact Urban made all linemen wear knee braces. I don't recall him having knee issues at all.
I also don't think Hankins is like Dontari Poe. Poe is a workout machine and very raw. I think Hankins has a lot more polish and skill. (and this is coming from a Chiefs fan and I like Poe.)
I hope Sabino does well. I think Simon will impress. He better at least do 30 reps on the bench or wow!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

OldColumbusTown's picture

Only problem is I believe he had a shoulder issue, which caused him to miss the Senior Bowl.  Hopefully he is over that, and it does not affect his bench performance.  I wouldn't be surprised to see him do 40 reps if he's healthy.

OurHonorDefend09's picture

He did 48 reps in high school...

Don't give up... Don't ever give up.

sir rickithda3rd's picture

na'il diggs was a lot better than sabino imo. some team is going to get a steal in simon and hank. esp if hank makes it out of the first round and mayock seems to think its going to happen unless there are 6 dt's taken.

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again