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Johnathan Hankins healthy, could be X-factor for Giants' D

Johnathan Hankins had seven sacks in 2014, and could eclipse that production this season with the improvements the Giants have made around him on the defensive line.Elsa/Getty Images

Johnathan Hankins had seven sacks in 2014, and could eclipse that production this season with the improvements the Giants have made around him on the defensive line.

Fourth-year Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, who missed seven games last season after tearing a pectoral muscle, described himself as “fully healthy,” on Monday at the start of the club’s offseason workout program.

He added that he will participate “fully” in the Giants’ offseason activities.

“I’m pretty much fully healthy and full go,” Hankins said on a conference call.

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That’s good news for the Giants’ revamped defense. Hankins, a 2013 second-round pick, is expected to play a key role for the rebuilt defensive line. New acquisitions Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison will offer pass-rush and run-stopping thump, respectively, and the Giants are hoping that Jason Pierre-Paul is revitalized in 2016.

With Vernon and JPP likely drawing attention on the outside, Hankins should face few double-teams and could emerge as a key finishing piece on the line. In 2014, he had a career-high seven sacks, and with so many other linemen drawing attention, he could play a similar role this season.

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That could be good for Hankins’ wallet, too; the defensive tackle is in the final year of his rookie deal. But he said that’s not on his mind right now.

“I’m just really focused on trying to get to the ultimate goal which is to win a Super Bowl,” he said.

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