Saints: where in the world is Sheldon Rankins?

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 13: Trevor Siemian
NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 13: Trevor Siemian /

Saints fans were expecting big things in 2017 from second-year defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins.

After a promising rookie season in 2016 during which he amassed 4 sacks in 9 games, Sheldon Rankins has struggled to make the same impact this year.

In week 1 against the Vikings, Rankins produced 2 combined tackles. In the three Saints’ games since that match-up, Rankins has not logged a single significant statistic.

That is a serious problem for a player who was supposed to be a star along the defensive line.

Perceived lack of production

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First of all, Rankins has been rotating in on the interior D-Line with fellow tackles Tyeler Davison and David Onyemata. Defensive End Cam Jordan has played a few snaps in the middle as well.

This rotation keeps players fresh, but also can account for a downturn in production.

But the DT rotation can’t be the issue here. Rankins has been in on just under 74% of the Saints’ defensive plays this season.

He has already participated in more than half the number of snaps that he saw in 2016 through just four games. The opportunity to produce is obviously there, Rankins just hasn’t capitalized.

The loss of Nick Fairley

As the Saints’ best tackle in 2016, Nick Fairley drew a lot of attention from opponents’ offensive lines. It could be the case that with Fairley out of the picture, teams have been focusing more on stopping Rankins.

But the young stud was thought to be the type of player that could handle the extra attention, even at this early stage in his career.

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Sophomore slump

Occam’s razor is an old philosophy which basically states that the best solution to a problem is usually the simplest.In this case, the sophomore slump is definitely the simplest answer, but not the most satisfying.

Whatever the reason, Rankins will have to turn his season around if he’s to live up to his lofty expectations.His next chance to make a statement will come Sunday against the hungry Detroit Lions and their rapid fire offense.