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).
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.
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.