Houston Texans offensive lineman Martinas Rankin will most likely play on the interior offensive line in 2019, but can he earn a starting role?
It is safe to say that Houston Texans offensive lineman Martinas Rankin will not be returning to one of the two tackle positions in 2019, unless there is an emergency at the position at some point in time during the season.
Rankin was forced to play at tackle in his first season with the Texans, and it didn’t work out so well for the third-round selection. His time as a tackle left him with an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 42.1 at tackle, playing a total of 430 snaps at the position, making him the 80th overall ranked tackle in 2018 by the website.
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With the additions of two draft picks this offseason ‚ in the first two rounds — in Max Scharping and Tytus Howard, plus the return of the injured Seantrel Henderson — Rankin will not be in the mix at right or left tackle this season. As a guard, though, hopefully Rankin can help the Texans improve within the interior offensive line, because that area of the offensive line had their issues, too.
According to depth charts provided by OurLads.com, they believe Rankin is the second listed left guard for the Texans, as he’ll be battling Senio Kelemete for the starting role. At right guard there are Zach Fulton, Scharping and others who could be competition on the offensive line too, so maybe that is a spot Rankin could land as well.
No guard on the Texans last season graded at 70 or higher, as all were below average in their grading by Pro Football Focus. Greg Mancz had a grade of 65.5 with 368 total snaps, followed by Kelemete at 56.0 (965 snaps) and Fulton at 54.0 (887 snaps).
"“He could play left guard, he could play right guard, he’s played tackle last year,” Bill O’Brien said in Phoenix at the NFL Annual League Meeting. “I think he’s more of a guard than he is a tackle, but he’s a great guy.”"
That comment was before the draft, and well, with the aforementioned selection of Howard, O’Brien was most likely true to his word. We’ll see Rankin at guard this upcoming season, but whether that is as a starter or reserve is another question.
Also remember, last training camp Rankin was injured for most of it, so this year he could have a better start to the season if he is able to stay healthy, plus play a position he’s more suited for in the NFL.
Rankin has a very solid opportunity in front of him to earn a role as a starting offensive guard for the Texans in 2019. As a tackl,e his pass blocking and his run blocking suffered from the end of the offensive line, but as his coaches have said, Rankin is better suited for the interior line. This training camp, the battle for the two guard spots should be intense, and for the Texans’ offensive line, a little more intensity wouldn’t hurt things, either.
In looking ahead to training camp, don’t be surprised if the position battle for being a starting guard is the best position battle of all as the Texans work out on who deserves to be in a starter’s role, and Rankin could be one of those guys.
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