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Sheldon Rankins, DT

School: Louisville  |  Conference: ACC
College Experience: Senior  |  Hometown: Covington, GA
Height/Weight: 6-1 / 299 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.962.891.7328 34 1/29'10"4.597.44

Mock Draft Expert Analysis

  • New Orleans Saints | #12
    New defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has his work cut out of him after New Orleans ranked last or close to it in virtually every defensive statistic in 2015, including points (29.8) and yards (413.8) allowed per game. Rankins' quick burst and active, powerful hands would him an effective interior pass rusher capable of complementing Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Jordan.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers | #9
    Defensive tackle isn't the No. 1 need on the Buccaneers' wish list, but Tampa really likes Rankins and might not be able to pass. He adds immediate depth across the Bucs' defensive line and gives that front some flexibility.
  • New Orleans Saints | #12
    It just makes too much sense. They need inside help and Rankins is a good inside pass rusher. Give him to the Saints to help that defense.
  • New Orleans Saints | #12
    The Saints have to get more explosive and disruptive on the defensive side of things and adding the surprisingly lithe athlete from Alabama does just that.
  • New Orleans Saints | #12
    Rankins helps upgrade what was a very weak front line for New Orleans last season. Stick him out there with Cam Jordan and Nick Fairley and you've got a much-improved group.

Player Overview

Rankins turns 22 on the first day of the NFL Draft, and should hear his name called as a birthday present as he has steadily climbed up many draft boards following a 2015 season that saw him earn third team All-ACC honors from the media.

Rankins started all 13 games and finished the season with 13 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks among his 58 tackles, along with a pass breakup, four quarterback hits and a fumble recovery.

Lorenzo Mauldin was the top pass-rush threat for Louisville in 2014, but it was Rankins who led the Cardinals in both tackles for loss (13.5) and sacks (8.0) that season, also besting Mauldin with 53 total tackles. He added a pair of interceptions, a surprising number for a 300-pounder, and thrived under defensive coordinator Todd Grantham's multiple odd/even fronts.

Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: Offers the power to line up in the "A gap" and take on multiple blockers, but also has the lateral quickness to stunt and loop around bodies to close on the pocket. Displays terrific effort and is a determined chaser to catch ballcarriers from behind away from the line of scrimmage.

He was nearly unblockable during one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl due to his quickness off the whistle and powerful arms to drive blockers backward. He used a variety of hand moves to swat jabs and swim past the blocker's shoulder. Also impressed during 11-on-11 reps due to his ball awareness, and his ability to read, detach himself from the block and make plays in the backfield.

Has heavy hands and terrific initial momentum to generate movement at the point of attack, seeing through blocks to accurately track the ball. Redirects well for a man his size, collecting himself on the move to break down in small spaces.

Impressed for a 300-pounder when asked to line up at defensive end due to injuries at times in 2015.

WEAKNESSES: Needs to continue to refine his skills. Has active hands, but is still developing his pass rush moves and the placement of his punch. Often the last lineman to move off the ball and needs to improve his snap anticipation. Doesn't always rush with a plan and lacks consistent move-to-move transition. Will stand up at times and needs to play with lower pad level.

COMPARES TO: Kawann Short, DT, Carolina Panthers - Although he has the skill-set that supersedes scheme, Rankins is ideally suited as a three-technique in a four-man front, fitting a similar role as Short in Carolina.

IN OUR VIEW: Rankins is one of the better run defenders in this draft class and continues to grow as a pass rusher. He entered Senior Bowl week with first-round grades and he only helped himself there with a dominating week.

--Dane Brugler (2/10/16)

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Player News
12/02/2015 - 2015 ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE THIRD TEAM (MEDIA): DE Sheldon Rankins, Sr., Louisville, 47/150 Votes...Rankins tallied one of his best seasons during his four-year career. Rankins, who started all 13 games, posted a career-best 53 tackles and was tied for second on the team with 12.0 tackles for loss and was third on the squad with 6.0 sacks. - Louisville Football


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