NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah released his first mock draft for the 2016 NFL Draft and has the Redskins taking Louisville senior Sheldon Rankins with the 21st overall pick.
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah believes the Washington Redskins will add a young defensive lineman in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
“Rankins is a disruptive interior defender and he would complement the edge rushers in Washington,” Jeremiah writes.
Rankins – a first-team All-ACC selection as a senior in 2015 – recorded 133 tackles (31.5 for loss), 18 sacks, two interceptions, two fumbles forced and two fumble recoveries.
During his senior season, Rankins tallied 58 tackles (13 for loss) along with six sacks.
In a 45-3 victory over Samford on Sept. 26, Rankins recorded two sacks. The week before in a loss to Clemson, Rankins got a sack as well.
As a junior in 2014, Rankins recorded a team-high eight sacks along with 53 tackles. He was selected as a third-team All-ACC selection.
In 2013, the 6-foot-2, 305-pound Covington, Ga., native appeared in 10 games, tallying four tackles for loss and three sacks.
Rankins NFL.com draft profile stats that he’s “powerfully built lower half with very good strength. Is extremely compact, but still flexible and very athletic.”
“Everything he does is explosive. Fires into blockers and can jolt and displace them with a combination of leverage and power. Strong base provides excellent balance to battle against double teams or down blocks. At times, will absolutely own finesse blockers. Elite foot quickness for interior defender. Will be difficult to hook or crossface for NFL offensive linemen because of his lateral quickness. Plays with powerful, violent hands. Can play in 2gap or 1gap scheme and did just that at Louisville. Plays through the blocker reading and shedding on time to make tackles against the run. Loose, explosive hips that allow him to win edge battles and turn the corner as pass rusher and potentially excel in twist game. Highly productive pass rusher in each of the last two season. Bloodhound with great instincts to diagnose and shutdown screens.”
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein believes Rankins is similar to Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett.
Jarrett – a 2015 fifth-round pick – appeared in 15 games as a rookie, recording 24 tackles and a sack.
Rankins is one of 11 defensive prospects currently slated to participate in this year’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.