For NFL owners, general managers and coaches, the Senior Bowl is a great opportunity to assess the field of talent ahead of the 2016 draft. For the fortunate seniors who received an invitation to play in the game, it’s a final opportunity to showcase their on field skills ahead of the NFL combine in March.

For a player like Sheldon Rankins, this game gives him the opportunity to further advance his reputation as an elite football player in hopes of being picked in the first round, earning him a life-changing contract in the process. For those who don’t know, Rankins is a big-time defensive lineman out of the University of Louisville where he played varsity ball for four years. At 6’2″ and 302 lbs., he has amazing speed and agility for a man his size. He’s big enough to overpower most offensive lineman and fast enough to wrangle running backs in the backfield.

During his freshman and sophomore years, he spent most of his time riding the bench. When he finally got the chance to play during his junior year, he made the most of it by recording 53 tackles, 8 sacks to go along with 2 interceptions. When he returned for his senior year, he turned up the intensity to overdrive and recorded 58 tackles (13 of which were for losses) and six sacks while making life miserable for opposing QBs and RBs. For his efforts, he was named to first team All-ACC honors.

When asked in an interview about receiving an invitation to play for the South team, Rankins replied “It was real important for me,” later adding “You know, I’m a guy that loves to compete, so when the invitation was sent, I didn’t hesitate in accepting and I knew it was a great platform for myself, for my school as well, to be able to come down here and represent my school and myself in such a great fashion.”

Given his size and agility, he projects to play any one of 3 or 4 positions in the NFL. While he played defensive end for the Cardinals, he actually projects well as a inside linebacker if pro scouts believe they can capitalize on his agility. Either way, this is a man who currently ranks high among defensive prospects. He is ranked on many boards as a certain first round pick, due in large part to his physical skills and football IQ.

It should be comforting to coaches and GMs that the young man is more than willing to play anywhere on the field, so long as he gets the chance to compete. When asked about what position he wanted to play, Rankins said “The one thing I think about myself is versatility. I played anywhere from a five-technique all the way down to zero-nose, so I have experience doing a lot of different things. And I’ve done enough of it on tape where it’s not so much a projection that you know what you’re going to get, so I think that’s the first thing.”

After the NFL Draft in April, football prognosticators should start releasing their NFL free bets picks for 2016. When combined with the right betting strategies, these expert NFL consensus picks can be used to rack up some winning bets early in the 2016 NFL season. If you haven’t done so in the past, you might want to start experimenting to find your own betting strategies during the remainder of the NBA season or throughout the upcoming MLB season. It’s never too late to start developing your winning formulas.


Featured image via SNYGiants