Wondering if the Buffalo Bills were paying any attention to this year's reportedly stellar group of college defensive tackles? Draft insider Tony Pauline is one of the best in the business when it comes to reporting news on NFL Draft prospects, and his latest tidbit is relevant to the Bills:
Thus far I'm told the official visit list for Sheldon Rankins/DT/Louisville includes the Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Bucs and Buffalo Bills— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) March 22, 2016
Rankins, a 6'1", 300-pound lineman, is projected as a first-round pick right now, which makes this an important visit. Buffalo has a strong reputation for drafting their pre-draft visitors; Rankins joins a short list that we're so far aware of, one that includes Reggie Ragland (another possible first-rounder) and Dak Prescott.
Rankins collected 111 tackles (59 solo) with 26.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks in his final two seasons at Louisville. He's an excellent athlete that plays with fire and agility on the field. He has a powerful bull rush, a solid rip technique and arm-over, and also has a killer spin move that he uses to keep opponents off-balance. While Rankins has the size of a prototypical pass-rushing three-technique tackle, he's polished enough that he could make hay playing a similar role to Sheldon Richardson on a defensive line.
Perhaps Rankins is not the type of 6'4", 320-pound five-technique most people were anticipating the Bills to show interest in, but his fit makes a lot of sense because Ryan places so much value on generating pass rush pressure, especially using the interior of the defense. Buffalo's defense definitely lost a step when Kyle Williams went down to injury last year, and Rankins would bolster that depth tremendously.