Low man wins: Sheldon Rankins is determined to prove his height is an advantage (1 Viewer)

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Full Story - New Orleans Advocate

Sheldon Rankins didn’t want to be outdone.

The guy on the other side of the field last week had just sacked Drew Brees and forced a fumble, and Rankins wanted to match that. Aaron Donald is the gold standard for all interior pass rushers in the NFL, but he’s also someone Rankins, who considers himself a student of the game, has studied for years.

It makes sense he would feel this way. In a league where players seem to be getting bigger and bigger, Rankins and Donald, at least regarding height and weight, are among a group of players who are on the smaller side at their position. Rankins measured at 6-foot-1 at the scouting combine. The guy often lined up next to him, Nick Fairley, is 6-foot-4.

So, that’s why Rankins has spent time studying the likes of Donald (6 feet) and Tennessee’s Jurrell Casey (6-foot-1) and Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins (6-foot-1). They’re all part of this group of smaller defensive tackles. And while they might not be considered complete outliers since many shorter players have had success at the position over the years, including Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, who stood 6-foot-2, there are still a lot more bigger-bodied players at defensive tackle than there are small ones.

But there’s no question the position has changed.

BY NICK UNDERHILL

Full Story - New Orleans Advocate
 

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