Saints rookie Sheldon Rankins already showing why he was a first-round talent (1 Viewer)


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Aug 1, 1997
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Sunset, La

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New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins knew what would likely happen on the play.

The Detroit Lions faced second-and-13 early in the third quarter Sunday, and the Saints were sending five players to rush. Rankins was playing right defensive end, Nick Fairley was in the middle, Cameron Jordan was the left defensive end and New Orleans was overloading the left side with linebacker Craig Robertson and cornerback Sterling Moore.

Rankins, this year's first-round pick, had the assignment of containing Stafford in case the pressure made him go to the edge. Jordan forced Stafford from the center of the pocket, but he couldn't go outside because of the rush from Robertson and Moore and the success of Rankins, who had pushed left tackle Taylor Decker back with one arm.

By the end of the play, Rankins had his third sack in just five career games.

"I just knew at some point if (Stafford) held the ball he was going to get flushed, so the whole point was just not to let him outside of me," Rankins said. "So I just came off the ball long-armed, keeping my outside arm free and making sure if he escaped that way I was able to get him. When I got to the depth of the quarterback, I knew if he got flushed he wasn't going to try to bow out and go around me, so I knew he'd step up. And when he did, I just got off the block and made the play."

By Josh Katzenstein, | The Times-Picayune

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