The New Orleans Saints activated defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Monday, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Rankins, 25, is entering his fourth season in the NFL after being selected by the Saints with the 12th overall section in the 2016 draft. Following a career year playing tackle in New Orleans’ defense, the 6-foot-2 Rankins suffered an Achilles tear during the team’s divisional round matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles in January of this year.
With the University of Louisville product active this week, Rapoport also reports that Rankins is “right on track” after a seven-month recovery from the torn Achilles. He had been placed on the injury reserve list since January 15.
In 16 games last season, Rankins performed quite well, holding the Saints’ front line of their defense together. He recorded 40 combined tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 15 QB hits, forcing one fumble and sacking opposing quarterbacks on eight occasions.
Outside of a fractured fibula suffered during training camp his rookie season in the NFL, Rankins has been a durable player for the Saints up to his Achilles injury. Rankins missed the first six games of his first year in the league but played in 44 consecutive games for NOLA, including the both 2017 and 2018 postseason games.
Rankins and the Saints last season gave up the second-fewest rushing yards to opponents, at 1,283, along with seventh-fewest penalty yards as a unit, and tied for sixth-fewest rushing touchdowns.
New Orleans had exercised Rankins’ fifth-year team option in his rookie contract for the 2019 season.