ARLINGTON, Texas (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – For the second consecutive year, a Mississippi State offensive lineman is making the journey #FromStateToSundays as Martinas Rankin was selected by the Houston Texans in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft on Friday night.
Rankin went pick No. 80 overall, becoming the highest drafted Bulldog offensive lineman since Derek Sherrod was taken No. 32 overall in the 2011 first round. Rankin, a native of Mendenhall, was the second highest drafted MSU offensive lineman since 2000, and he will join former Bulldog All-America linebacker Benardrick McKinney in Houston.
"It's just something I always wanted to be able to do," Rankin said during a draft conference call. "I wanted to be able to do more than one thing. I knew it would help me get to this part of my life. I'm grateful for this opportunity. I get to come into a great organization, and I get to come in and help protect a great young quarterback."
Rankin is likely to play tackle with the Texans, a position he manned for 23 career games and 18 starts from 2016-17. As a senior, he earned first-team All-SEC honors and won the Kent Hull Trophy as the state of Mississippi’s top collegiate offensive lineman. Off the field, Rankin was a two-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and a Dean’s List recipient who maintained a 3.3 GPA. This past season, he was a semifinalist for college football’s top academic award, the Campbell Trophy.
Rankin’s selection represents the first time since 2000-01 that MSU produced back-to-back years of NFL Draft choices on the offensive line. Justin Senior went in the sixth round last season to Seattle. It was also the ninth straight season that the Bulldogs had at least one draft selection.
The 2018 NFL Draft concludes with rounds four through seven beginning at 11 a.m. CT Saturday on NFL Network, ESPN and ABC.