After drafting Stanford safety Justin Reid, which I’d argue was the biggest steal of the draft, the Texans continued their amazing draft by selecting Martinas Rankin with the 80th overall pick.

And Texans general manager Brian Gaine couldn’t have made a better choice. Although he did say he would take a best player available approach to the draft, getting a player like Rankin clearly fills a need for the Texans.

The Texans offensive line was one of the worst in football last season, giving up a league high 252 pressures. This awful performance did not bode well for star quarterback Deshaun Watson’s future health, so drafting Rankin was a necessary move as he will shore up the tackle position and possibly other spots across the offensive line as well.

Martinas Rankin originally played at Mississippi Gulf Coast College, where he was so dominant that he got ranked as the ninth best junior college recruit in the nation. This led to him committing to Mississippi State, red-shirting in 2015, starting in 2016, and breaking out in 2017 to receive All-SEC honors and the Kent Hull Trophy (given to the best offensive lineman in Mississippi).

A Jackson, Mississippi Native who went to college in his home state despite receiving offers from Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Florida (Getty Images).

His impressive 2017 season led to Rankin forgoing his senior season to enter the NFL Draft. This decision immediately propelled Rankin into the first round conversation because of his raw talent and versatility.

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Rankin can play all five positions on the line, which is something that head coach Bill O’Brien and general manager Brian Gaine thought was important for any offensive lineman they were going to draft. In addition, standing at 6’4″, 308 pounds, Rankin has the size and raw talent to become an elite lineman in the NFL.

Scouts note that Rankin has the size, length, and agility to stop rushers on the outside, something Texans offensive lineman simply couldn’t do last season (as evidenced by the 252 pressures). Furthermore, Rankin has shown exceptional strength and efficiency as a run blocker, which will be important for a Texans offense that finished 25th in rushing touchdowns last season.

The one issue many note about Rankin is that he has trouble dealing with speed from the outside, which could be why many scouts suggest he start at center instead of tackle. But even with this hole in his game, Rankin is still a far better option at tackle than Julie’n Davenport, whose abysmal 47.6 Pro Football Focus grade was one of the worst in football.

Overall, Martinas Rankin is an extremely talented offensive lineman who will be competing for the starting tackle spot with Davenport in 2018. If he wins the positional battle, he could shore up a tackle position that will keep Deshaun Watson healthy for the years to come.

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