Sheldon Rankins is a 26 year old, 6’ 2”, 305 pound defensive tackle drafted by the Saints with the 12th overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. Rankins had by far his best season in 2018, when he racked up 40 tackles, 8 sacks, 15 pressures and 12 tackles for loss. Although he was not named to the Pro Bowl that year, that was a Pro Bowl level season for Rankins.
The last two years Rankins has been slowed by injuries and has not been nearly as productive. He landed on injured reserve both years, and played in just 35% of the Saints’ defensive snaps for the 2019-20 two year period, as compared with roughly 70% of defensive snaps in the prior two year period. For his career Sheldon Rankins has 116 tackles, 44 quarterback hits and 25 tackles for loss in five seasons.
If the Jets can get Rankins playing at or near his 2018 level, combined with Quinnen Williams, John Franklin-Myers and Carl Lawson, the Jets have the makings of a fierce young pass rush in 2021 and beyond. If on the other hand Rankins plays to his level of the most recent two seasons, this contract will not look quite so good. In any event, the Jets have taken advantage of the Saints’ cap issues to add a Pro Bowl level talent on the defensive line. Time will tell if that talent is fully realized.