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2018 NFL Draft scouting reports: Mississippi State OT Martinas Rankin

Sosa Kremenjas takes a look at a potential target for the Los Angeles Rams on Day 2 of the draft.

NFL Combine - Day 1 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

As we continue our run through 2018 NFL Draft prospects, next on the docket is Mississippi St. LT Martinas Rankin. Rankin is a 6’5”, 315-lb. prospect who spent his time on the blindside in Starkville though projections have had him at literally all five spots across the offensive line in the NFL. Many are torn on where he belongs, but the thing about it is that it’s a matter of versatility not ability.

I believe that Rankin can stay outside in the NFL on account of his athleticism and technique though I can understand and see why his projection to guard or center might be even better. He’s nasty, athletic, has no issues climbing to the second level, and is technically efficient in both pass pro and in the run game.

Let’s take a look at the tape:

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On this snap, you can see how smooth Rankin’s kick-step is. On third-and-five, Rankin is tasked with blocking potential first-round draft pick Georgia LB Lorenzo Carter, and has zero issues doing so. He gets great depth on his pass set allowing him to simply catch Carter because of it. No threat on this play.

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This time around Rankin is tasked with working his way to the second level of the defense. When he manages to locate his target - eventual first-round pick Georgia LB Roquan Smith - Rankin lays the block down which almost knock’s Smith onto the floor.

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Here you see a run block from the LT spot with a defensive lineman head on. As soon as Rankin engages he drives his legs maintaining good balance and creating sheer strength from his lower half, eventually driving his target five yards downfield.

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This clip might be my favorite of the bunch as it simply isn’t easy to do. Rankin once again lines up at his LT spot, but is tasked with pulling all the way across the formation and sealing off the edge as a lead blocker for his RB. Rankin shows great athleticism on this play with his success of reaching the second-level defender, and chop blocking him with ease.

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Another drop in pass pro, Rankin is tested outside this time by the DE who attempts a speed rush but catches him in his lap as no threat to the QB. Rankin’s so smooth as a Tackle, and it allows him to create and cover enough ground quickly without jeopardizing his technique.

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This is another example of Rankin climbing to the second level, keying in on his LB target, and knocking him off his spot. He doesn’t sustain the block in this instance, but had the RB followed a lane up the middle he easily would have been protected by Rankin.

The tape really impressed me on Rankin. As a prospect I had no idea what to expect, but I came away very impressed with a prospect who showed plenty of technical ability, strength, athleticism, and versatility.

His best spot in the NFL may be on the interior, that’ll be determined later. His lack of arm length (33 3/4”) may ultimately get him pushed inside as NFL teams have an obsession for arm length, but I really do believe he can survive out at Tackle. Regardless, he’s shown plenty of athletic ability, ability to pull, and strength in the run game to be a fantastic interior offensive lineman.

His fit with the Los Angeles Rams would be tremendous because he could be used anywhere on the offensive line. I think he would start day one over RG Jamon Brown. He could be held as depth at LT/C for now until either of LT Andrew Whitworth or C John Sullivan retire. Or he could backup LG Rodger Saffold or RT Rob Havenstein and eventually replace either of them in 2019 when both are slated to be free agents.

With a bevy of draft picks between rounds three and four, the Rams will likely select some offensive lineman. Keep your eyes out for Rankin being a potential selection.