The NFL is sleeping on IDL Sheldon Rankins | NY Jets film
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Blewett’s Blitz latest film breakdown dives deep into NY Jets interior defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins, whom the NFL is overlooking.

The full Jet X member-only video is near the bottom of this page and can also be seen on the Blewett's Blitz homepage (if you're a paid member and logged in).

Twenty-seven-year-old Sheldon Rankins represents a New York Jets signing nobody expected.

After the Jets beefed up the defensive line with their biggest splash in free agency, Carl Lawson, fans were looking towards the other edge—rightfully so. This would allow John Franklin-Myers to kick inside where he is most comfortable as a pass rusher.

The Jets had other plans, however. Even though they ended up signing Vinny Curry—which offers plenty of versatility on the JFM front—Joe Douglas targeted Rankins for good reason.

Rankins’ career with the New Orleans Saints hit its peak in 2018 when he produced consistent pressure from the interior of the defensive line, racking up eight sacks. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in the Saints’ divisional playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018. 

Rankins never returned to his 2018 form. Missing 10 regular-season games over the next two seasons while battling more injures and never regaining the explosion that he previously showed is what’s transpired.

Interestingly, the veteran interior defender wasn’t re-signed by the Saints going into the 2021 offseason. Robert Saleh certainly loved that considering his love for talent and depth up front.

Let’s take a look at some plays showcasing Rankins’ major strengths and weaknesses. Below you will also find a full list of strengths and weaknesses, plus an episode of Blewett’s Blitz that digs into close to two hours of film.

Podcast episode

Highlighted strength: Explosion

This is an example of a good paring of explosion and technique here from Rankins (lined up as 3-tech on left).

Rankins is in a “light stance” (not leaning as heavy on hands) and comes off of the ball reading the left guard’s block. Rankins pushes upfield for two steps, paired with a head fake outside to make the left guard think he’s rushing outside.

Rankins then lands his right into the chest as he crosses the guard’s face (to jolt him back/clear his path), wipes away the inside punch with his left hand, and explodes towards the quarterback and picks up the sack.

Highlighted strength: Bull-rush

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You may know Joe Blewett from his wildly-popular film breakdowns and podcasts on websites including Turn on the Jets and Jet Nation. His ability to analyze film is second to none. From a player on the field in high school (FS/CB/WR/RB) to working with former NFL players including Marcus Coleman and Erik McMillan, as well as many hours of studying, Joe brings a rare level of expertise to his content. Joe is currently hosting Blewett’s Blitz, bringing player and game film breakdowns and podcasts (video and audio). Email: joe.blewett[at]
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1 year ago

The Jets have taken advantage of the Saints CAP woes, by obtaining Rankins & Hardee at a very reasonable price. Rankins who is exceptionally quick and powerful will flourish in a rotation that keeps him fresh. If there is a weak link in the opposing Offensive Line, the Jets will exploit it. Tough for OC’s to scheme around this Defensive Line.