Sheldon Rankins Is Confident He Can Recapture Form With Jets

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Sheldon Rankins is two seasons removed from the best year of his NFL career.

In 2018, the defensive tackle racked up eight sacks in a Saints uniform, making a total of 40 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 15 quarterback hits.

Signing with the Jets this offseason, the former first-round pick has no doubts he can recapture that dominance up front in green and white this season and beyond.

"With me feeling healthy again and feeling back to myself, I feel like I can slide right in and do nothing but dominate in that front," Rankins told reporters in his first presser as a member of the Jets last week.

Rankins, 27, started all 16 games for New Orleans that year, coming off another 16-game campaign in '17. Since then, he's made only one start, playing in 22 games.

Playing for a new team for the first time, after five years with the Saints, Rankins explained that injuries derailed his ability to produce over the last few years. Feeling healthy now will open doors for him to "do all the things [he] could do before."

"I felt like I was well on my way to being in the upper echelon class of a defensive tackle and injuries struck but I'm very confident in my abilities to be able to get back to doing all those things that made me a special player."

Further, lining up alongside rising star Quinnen Williams and edge rusher Carl Lawson, among others, Rankins is confident this group will be a force to be reckoned with for other teams. 

"I feel like we're as talented as any defense in the league, and we'll continue to add more pieces and build this thing up," he said. "I think once it's time to really get rolling and play real football, I think we have the makings of something truly special."

The tackle went on to speak about the impact new head coach Robert Saleh had on his decision to sign with the Jets in free agency. Inking a two-year deal with New York this offseason, Rankins acknowledged that it won't be easy to build this organization from a two-win team to a title contender, but with Saleh demanding excellence, it's only a matter of time before the success starts to trickle down.

Adding Saleh's defensive-minded approach to a solid group of defensive linemen, it'll be difficult for opposing offenses to contain this Jets pass rush. 

"It'll be fun playing with these guys," Rankins said. "That's the beautiful thing about talent is you can't double everybody. And this room does nothing but ooze with talent, I'm just excited to get to work."

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