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2018 NFL Scouting Report: Martinas Rankin, OL - Mississippi State

The Denver Broncos are looking to upgrade their offensive line in the 2018 NFL Draft. Mississippi State’s Martinas Rankin would be a quality selection for them on Day 2.

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NCAA Football: SEC Media Days Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

A favorite of mine who popped on my radar during last year’s draft evaluations, Mississippi State’s Martinas Rankin is a prospect fans of the Denver Broncos should be familiar with as the 2018 NFL Draft approaches. In fact, the team recently brought him in for one of their thirty pre-draft visits, which should be enough proof that the team has significant interest in his services. Everybody knows that the offensive line was the team’s glaring weakness in 2017, so there should be little doubt that they are interested in upgrading their talent level on the roster through this year’s draft.

A former junior college standout from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Rankin was ranked as one of the best JUCO prospects available several years ago. After receiving incredible interest from many top programs, he decided to stay local and sign his letter of intent to play at Mississippi State. Since his arrival, Rankin manned down the left tackle position for the Bulldogs the past two years and performed admirably — earning the Kent Hull Trophy and an All-SEC selection in 2017. Though he excelled as a blindside protector in college, his best fit in the NFL in my opinion on the right side, perhaps even on the interior.

That being said, Rankin’s versatility is one of his best assets as a prospect. It’s not often you can find a player like him who could play any position along the offensive line. If the Broncos were to select him, it would give them a possible solution at several long-term issues on that area of the team. Let’s take a closer look at Rankin as a prospect and where he projects best for the Broncos.

Martinas Rankin, Senior, OT — Mississippi State

Height: 6’5” Weight: 305 lbs

Arm Length: 33 3/4” Hands: 10 1/8”

40-Yard Dash: N/A Bench Press: 24 reps Vertical Jump: N/A

Film Room:

Hart’s Scouting Report on Martinas Rankin

Strengths:

Above all else, Rankin has the size and arm length teams desire at the position. Multi-year SEC starter who is well-regarded by coaches and fellow players. Flows easily off the snap with his kick slides and lands his initial punch on defenders consistently. Possesses very active hands and his tape shows above-average technique and leverage. Plus movement skills and athleticism allow him to routinely get to the second-level on run blocking assignments. (Pop on this year’s game against LSU and you’ll see how dominating he was run blocking.) High football IQ with the smarts to diagnose delayed pressure and blitzes from linebackers and members of the secondary. Offers positional versatility, with many scouts believing that he could play any position on the offensive trenches.

Weaknesses:

In the games I watched, there were issues some in regard to footwork, balance and the ability to recover after the snap. In several games (Georgia in particular), he was beat badly by edge rushers with speed on the outside and played with too narrow of a base. Those concerns will likely cause him to switch from left tackle to right tackle in the pros. Rankin was hampered by injuries this past season (high ankle sprain) and that’s likely a reason he regressed in pass coverage, allowing 18 quarterback pressures in nine games according to Pro Football Focus. Additionally, I believe Rankin would benefit from adding more weight and strength to his frame, especially if a team wants to play him at right tackle — but his quality run blocking make him a fit on that side of the alignment.

Does Mississippi State offensive lineman Martinas Rankin make sense for the Broncos?

The Denver Broncos upgraded their offensive line this offseason by acquiring Jason Veldheer via trade, but he is just a one-year rental. Without question, the franchise is most certainly on the prowl to find a future long-term starter at tackle in this year’s draft and Rankin offers that potential. He could even be a long-term solution at guard or even center, especially if the team doesn’t extend Matt Paradis.

He has a lot of positive qualities, but several of his glaring weaknesses (though correctable with quality coaching) lead me to believe it would be in his best interest to be learn the ropes as a rookie. Even so, I believe Rankin merits consideration on the draft’s second day, in particular the late second to early third round as a developmental prospect. I wouldn’t invest Denver’s early second round selection on him (#40 overall), because players picked that early need to play right away, but as a prospect he presents good value with their early third round selection.