Sheldon Rankins NFL Draft 2016

2016 Scouting Report: Sheldon Rankins, DL, Louisville

Sheldon Rankins was a three-star recruit from Eastside HS in Covington, Georgia. Rivals ranked him as the 32nd strongside defensive end in the 2012 class. Rankins was recruited by Mississippi State, Nebraska, and Wake Forest, but decided to play for Louisville. He enters the 2016 NFL Draft as one of the top interior defensive line prospects.



DOB April 2, 1994 Bench (225 lbs) 28
Height 6’1″ Vertical Jump 34.5″
Weight 299 lbs Broad Jump 9’10”
Arms 33.375 in 20 Yard Shuttle 4.59 sec
Hands 9.375 in 3 Cone Drill 7.44 sec
40 Yard Dash (10 yd split) 5.03 sec (1.74 sec) 60 Yard Shuttle DNP


Stats and Awards

University of Louisville (2012-2015)
2015 – 58 tackles (13.0 for loss), 6.0 sacks, 1 PD, 1 DEF TD
2014 – 53 tackles (13.5 for loss), 8.0 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 PD, 1 FF
2013 – 15 tackles (4.0 for loss), 3.0 sacks, 2 PDs, 1 FF
2012 – 5 tackles (1.0 for loss), 1.0 sacks


Scouting Report

  • Short, stout body with wide shoulders
  • Mainly 0-tech NT or 5-tech DE 2gapper in college, but looked good as 1-gap pass rusher showing the burst necessary to penetrate
  • Good hip flexibility and burst to run stunts as looper
  • Does not disengage well from blocks especially in pass rush
  • Not afraid to dive into piles and gangtackle ball carrier
  • Tackle reading as an edge defender.
  • Poor snap anticipation. Always last one off line of scrimmage.
  • Good edge run defender using length to extend and keep blockers off of him
  • Good job keeping square shoulders to attack blockers
  • Uses spill technique to create pile-ups on lead/pulling blockers
  • Good acceleration and shows good speed-to-power conversion
  • Gets hands up to block passes, but height doesn’t allow him to be a factor though.
  • Main pass rush move is bullrush converting burst to power, but needs counter move (bulljerk)
  • Has a great swim move through A-gap, and an underrated spin move which he needs to use it more often from inside
  • Dealt with consistent double teams
  • Great job of read-and-react. Doesn’t make the same mistake twice.
  • Fights through blocks
  • Good job of keeping feet moving down line of scrimmage on stretch plays
  • Good nose for football. Does a good job of staying in position to make plays.
  • Excellent effort in pursuit on his side of the field. Will see him chase down ball carriers down sideline.
  • Drew a lot of holding penalties

    Film Study

    Rankins is a short, stout defensive lineman with solid length for his size. He displays a good burst off the line of scrimmage and he gives excellent effort in pursuit chasing down ball carriers. He is a natural in space and has good hip flexibility. This makes him an excellent candidate to run stunts with a creative defensive coordinator.

    The main issue that I noticed consistently throughout his tape was that he was always the last one to move after the snap.

    Based on his size and skill-set, Rankins projects best as a one-gap interior defensive lineman in the NFL. In order to be effective in the NFL, he absolutely needs to time the snap better. Hopefully, it’s correctable. 

    Article continues on the next page looking at his pass rush.

    Samuel Gold

    Sam founded NFL Breakdowns after working his way through the journalist farm system and is enjoying life in the big league. Growing up outside of Washington, D.C., Sam didn’t choose the Redskins, the Redskins chose him. Out of a love for the game and an insatiable curiosity to determine why his beloved team was underperforming, Sam turned to studying film in NFL Breakdowns.