2016 NFL Draft: early look at Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins


Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins is an emerging defensive line prospect with the ability to disrupt the timing of the offense. He uses proper technique and quickness to keep clean and work his way to the football. However, he lacks ideal size and may struggle to hold at the point of attack in the NFL.

Rankins ability to succeed rests on his commitment to gaining inside hands and playing with leverage. He routinely fires off the ball which allows him to quickly get into the frame of the blocker and control the action.

This clip is a great example of how Rankins uses his hands to get off blocks:

The hand placement isn’t the only important thing to notice as the overall quickness of his hands is also key. Rankins possesses the violent movement in his hands needed to disengage and the burst to make plays away from his frame. He also features good lateral wiggle which allows him to slip past the blocker and into the backfield.

His non-stop motor and effort also plays a role in his ability to make impact plays. Rankins always fires off the ball with a good burst and plays to the whistle.

The issue is that Rankins lacks ideal measurables with a lack of bulk and the arm length evaluators look for in a defensive line prospect. He’ll need to continue to be productive if he hopes to overshadow this problem area.

Aaron Donald recently showed that defensive tackle with a lack of ideal measurables can be effective in the NFL. Rankins can use Donald as a bit of a measuring stick as he works toward the draft

Current Draft Position: Late 2nd Round