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Giants Continue to Bulk Up

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2013 NFL Draft

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^By TOM CANAVAN=
^AP Sports Writer=
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ The New York Giants are going big in the draft.

A day after taking offensive tackle Justin Pugh in the first round, the Giants put pounds on their disappointing defensive line with the selection of run-stopping Ohio State tackle Johnathan Hankins.

Hankins is another big body. He is 6-foot-2 and 325 pounds and he was an every-down player for the Buckeyes this past season, starting all 12 games.

There were some concerns about his stamina heading into the draft, but the Giants weren’t concerned Friday after making the pick.

Marc Ross, the team’s director of college scouting, said Hankins is a bit of a rarity with his combination of size and mobility. He also downplayed the stamina issue, noting that it was not surprising that a 325-pounder would tire playing roughly 60 plays a game.

“The way I am at 325 pounds, you don’t see too many big guys run from side to side, making plays,” Hankins said in a  telephone interview from his home near Detroit. “I feel like I am probably one of the best. I am going to keep working hard and continue to be good.”

Hankins said Ohio State coach Urban Meyer didn’t take his starters off the field much this past season so he played almost every down, finishing the season with 55 tackles and a sack.

If there is a perceived weakness, it’s his pass-rushing ability. He had five sacks in three seasons, with three coming in 2011.

“I can rush the passer,” Hankins said. “One of my strong points is I can stop the run. I am working on my pass rush, the techniques. I am working on getting that a lot better so I can be a complete D-tackle.”

Ross said the Giants felt Hankins was a first-round talent.

“The pass rush isn’t his strength,” Ross said. “Right now he is a two-down run stopper and we’ll develop his pass rush.”

New York (9-7) ranked 31st overall on defense last season. It allowed an average of 129.1 yards rushing and 254.3 passing.

After the season, the Giants released veteran tackle Chris Canty and signed former Eagles tackles Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson.

New York started rebuilding their aging offensive line in the first round, taking versatile Syracuse tackle Justin Pugh, who can play every position on the line. He is expected to challenge David Diehl for the starting job at right tackle.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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