The Cowboys boast one of the best defenses in the NFL. On Tuesday, they bolstered it, acquiring veteran defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins from the Raiders in a swap of late-round draft picks, according to NFL Media. A 10th-year player with starting experience dating back to his days with the rival Giants, Hankins is playing out a one-year contract and figures to slot in as a potential starter in Dallas. He arrives along with a 2024 seventh-round pick in exchange for a 2023 sixth-rounder, per reports.
One of the few weaknesses on Dallas' defense has been stopping the run; the Cowboys have allowed the 20th most rushing yards in 2022, despite their 5-2 start. Hankins, meanwhile, has built a reputation as a run-stopper at 6-foot-3 and 340 pounds. With the Raiders since 2018, the big man saw a decrease in defensive snaps during Las Vegas' two-game win streak, but was once a core piece of the club's defensive line. It's possible he could take over on the Cowboys' front as early as Sunday, when Dallas will be up against the run-heavy Bears in Week 8.
Originally a second-round pick by the Giants out of Ohio State, Hankins spent the first four years of his NFL career in New York, drawing Pro Bowl consideration for stellar starting seasons in 2014 and 2016. He logged a career-high seven sacks and 12 quarterback hits in the former season, then had a career-best eight tackles for loss two years later. Hankins parlayed his Giants emergence into a big free-agent deal with the Colts in 2017, but spent just one year in Indianapolis before signing with the Raiders.
The defensive tackle started a combined 61 games for the Raiders in roughly four and a half years, eclipsing at least 35 tackles in each of his full seasons on the team.