Free Agent Spotlight: DT Sheldon Rankins

Immediately we’ll be taking a look at Sheldon Rankins, a as soon as extremely touted defensive sort out that was taken twelfth general by the New Orleans Saints in 2016.

The previous first spherical choose is coming off of his fifth yr within the Massive Straightforward which was lower than memorable. Nevertheless, only a few years in the past he was wanting like he was lastly discovering his approach as a high inside move rusher.

So will he a be a Buccaneer in 2021? Nicely, solely time will inform, however let’s dive in to see what he would convey to the desk.

Popping out of faculty, Rankins appeared to be one of many higher defensive tackles within the class as he was the primary one off the board. He got here into New Orleans trying to be a starter however sadly missed the latter finish of coaching camp, in addition to the primary seven video games of the season, resulting from a damaged fibula.


Regardless of his preliminary absence, Rankins got here again and performed the final 9 video games of his rookie marketing campaign. He completed with 20 tackles, three tackles for loss, 4 sacks, and one pressured fumble.

Going into the 2017 season, the previous Louisville Cardinal seemed to proceed his success, particularly as a pass-rusher. Nevertheless, this by no means actually materialized as he completed the season with solely two sacks after enjoying 77 % of the defensive snaps.

In 2018, Rankins exploded onto the scene as one of many league’s high inside move rushers and completed the season with the seventh most sacks by a defensive sort out, with eight (tied with Cameron Heyward). On high of this, he recorded 40 tackles and 15 QB hits en path to his most efficient NFL season up to now.

As his time in New Orleans continued, he actually simply couldn’t keep on the sector and his manufacturing took a serious hit due to it. Through the 2018-2019 playoffs, he tore his Achilles and ended up on IR as soon as once more.

Since then, he simply actually hasn’t been the identical participant. Regardless of exhibiting flashes of his 2018 type, he’s by no means actually gotten again to that time and actually can’t stay wholesome as he ended up on IR in each 2019 (ankle sprain) and 2020 (MCL sprain).

Regardless of Ndamukong Suh stating that he wished to come back again for the 2021 season, nothing is ready in stone but. Even when Suh does re-sign, the Buccaneers have to look to bolster their depth on the defensive sort out place with query marks surrounding Steve McClendon and Rakeem Nuñez-Roches.

Even with Rankins’ damage historical past and lack of inside pass-rush, he would nonetheless be a superb match for this Tampa Bay line of defense, particularly in opposition to the run. He’s nonetheless an extremely stout run defender who can stand up to blocks and clog working lanes.

Right here’s a clip from his finest sport of the season which got here in Week 5 in opposition to the Los Angeles Chargers:


Check out the power he shows right here when he’s being blocked down. As an alternative of being pushed down the road and brought out of the play, he takes a large stance, hunkers down, and waits for the running-back to decide earlier than he makes the sort out for loss.

When evaluating him to the depth items that have been part of the Bucs 2020 Super Bowl run, he would look to be an improve over Nuñez-Roches and possibly convey the identical manufacturing that McClendon did however at a a lot youthful age.

There actually just isn’t a lot of a move rush from this man. Regardless of his eight sacks in 2018, he hasn’t come near reaching that quantity once more as he’s solely picked up three and half via the previous two seasons.

Right here’s a take a look at his solely solo sack from the 2020 season:

See something wildly particular right here? Frankly, no. He primarily comes via unblocked right here and sacks Justin Herbert earlier than the rookie QB had time to flee.

Whereas inside lineman aren’t at all times known as upon for his or her move rush, there must be some type of a stress factor and he simply can’t appear to produce that anymore. By means of watching the tape, it’s clear that the explosion he as soon as had isn’t fairly what it was once.

On high of this, he’s solely performed two 16 sport seasons as he has spent a superb period of time on IR via his different three. Can he keep wholesome? Nicely, that’s an enormous query mark and one which I assume many groups are taking into account.

Since Rankins is coming off of his rookie contract, it’s tough to say what he could be comfy enjoying beneath. Nevertheless, Over the Cap has him valued at slightly below $2 million/yr based mostly on his restricted manufacturing lately, whereas Spotrac has him valued within the $11.3 million/yr vary.

Whereas it’s tough to say which finish he’ll find yourself on, I might assume that it could be WELL over the Over the Cap formulation and fairly a bit beneath what Spotrac predicts. Taking a look at Professional Soccer Focus, they predict that Rankins will signal a 2 yr, $7.25 million/yr deal which seems to be extra within the vary that I may see him being paid.

Can he keep wholesome? Truthfully, this is likely one of the greatest query marks with Rankins. Regardless of his means to stuff the run, the most effective sort of means is availability and he simply hasn’t been obtainable as usually as groups would love.

We additionally don’t know what the Bucs are going to do with the defensive sort out place. With so many questions on Suh, McClendon, and Nuñez-Roches, will the Bucs even be able to pay a situational defensive lineman someplace close to $7 million/yr?

Primarily based on the free brokers they’re making an attempt to re-sign, I might anticipate that loads of that cash must hit someday down the road and I don’t know if they’d wish to damage the cap in future years to signal somebody that’s trying to show themselves.

What do you assume? Do you assume the Bucs must be inserting calls to Rankins’ agent to see what he needs to make in 2021? How a lot are you involved together with his damage historical past/lack of current manufacturing? Tell us within the feedback under!


In the case of Sheldon Rankins, what would you’ve got the Buccaneers do?

  • 0%

    Signal him, it doesn’t matter what

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    Make a suggestion, however maintain it cheap

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    Invite him for a cup of espresso and see the place it goes

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    Name him up if they’ve a necessity after the NFL draft

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    Don’t want him

    (0 votes)

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