Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins 2016 Scouting Report.
Sheldon Rankins is one of the more interesting draft prospects in this class. He has tons of natural ability but lacks ideal size for a defensive lineman. NFL teams will need to identify his best fit before deciding to select him in the draft.
Size is an important trait for a defensive lineman. Players at these positions are asked to hold their ground and move their opponents off the line of scrimmage. Rankins lacks the height, arm length and bulk evaluators look for at his position.
This clip shows a glimpse of the issues Rankins faces:
Here the offensive lineman is able to get his hands on Rankins frame and control his movements. He is unable to disengage and struggles to locate the football.
However, Rankins does a great job using his limited size to his advantage. He’s a hard worker who is routinely the first player out of his stance. This helps him over the offensive lineman’s reach advantage and get inside his frame.
Once he gains inside hands, Rankins uses his natural leverage and raw power to push the pocket. It also allows him to disengage and make plays away from his frame. He has the closing burst to make plays down the line of scrimmage and in the backfield.
Rankins was able to succeed in college because he took advantage of some poor technique by the offensive line. In the NFL, offensive linemen are more disciplined which will make it tougher for Rankins to gain inside leverage.
His lack of size makes it tough to find a perfect fit for him in a defense. He will have a tough time working in the phone booth and isn’t explosive enough to play defensive end. Rankins needs to land on a team with a creative defensive coordinator.
He has the potential to be a disruptive and impact player at the next level, but will need to overcome some of his limitations.
Current Draft Position: Early 3rd Round