Sheldon Rankins
No. 98 – Cincinnati Bengals
Position:Defensive tackle
Personal information
Born: (1994-04-02) April 2, 1994 (age 30)
Covington, Georgia, U.S.
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:305 lb (138 kg)
Career information
High school:Eastside (Covington, Georgia)
College:Louisville (2012–2015)
NFL draft:2016 / Round: 1 / Pick: 12
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career NFL statistics as of 2023
Total tackles:228
Forced fumbles:5
Fumble recoveries:3
Pass deflections:3
Player stats at PFR

Sheldon Taylor Rankins (born April 2, 1994) is an American football defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Louisville. He was drafted in the first round (12th overall) by the New Orleans Saints in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Early years

Rankins attended Eastside High School in Covington, Georgia. He committed to the University of Louisville to play college football.[1]

College career

At Louisville, Rankins was mostly a backup during his freshman and sophomore years, recording 22 tackles and four sacks. As a junior, in 2014, Rankins started in all 13 games and had 53 tackles, eight sacks, and two interceptions.[2][3][4] As a senior, in 2015, he had 58 tackles, six sacks, and a fumble return touchdown.

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 1+18 in
(1.86 m)
299 lb
(136 kg)
33+38 in
(0.85 m)
9+38 in
(0.24 m)
5.03 s 1.73 s 2.89 s 4.59 s 7.44 s 34.5 in
(0.88 m)
9 ft 10 in
(3.00 m)
28 reps
All values from NFL Combine[5]

New Orleans Saints

On April 28, 2016, Rankins was drafted as the 12th overall pick by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.[6] On May 9, the Saints signed him to a four-year, 12.8 million dollar contract.[7] On August 16, 2016, Rankins suffered a broken fibula during practice. The injury required surgery, with up to 6 weeks to recover.[8] On September 6, he was placed on the injured reserve/designated for return list. He was activated on November 5, prior to Week 9.[9] During his rookie year, he played in 9 games and finished with 20 tackles, four sacks, and a forced fumble.

During his second season in 2017, Rankins started all 16 regular season games to help a scoring defense go from ranking 31st to tenth in the league. He recorded 16 solo tackles (26 total), one forced fumble, one interception, and one pass defensed.

In a Week 8 win against the Minnesota Vikings in 2018, for the first time in his NFL career, Rankins made 2 sacks in a single game on quarterback Kirk Cousins.[10] For that game, he shared the top spot for sacks on the team with teammate LB Marcus Davenport. Throughout the 2018 season, Rankins started all 16 games, recording 40 tackles and eight sacks (second-best on the team behind Cameron Jordan.) In the divisional round of the playoffs against the Philadelphia Eagles, Rankins suffered a torn Achilles and was placed on injured reserve on January 15, 2019.[11]

On April 24, 2019, the Saints picked up the fifth-year option on Rankins' contract.[12] He was placed on injured reserve on December 11 with an ankle injury.[13] He finished the season with 10 tackles and two sacks through 10 games.

On November 6, 2020, Rankins was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury.[14] He was activated on December 5.[15] In the Wild Card round against the Chicago Bears, he sacked quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.[16] Throughout the season, he played in 12 regular season games and 2 post-season games, recording 2.5 sacks, 23 combined tackles, 11 quarterback hits and 1 pass deflection.[17]

New York Jets

On March 23, 2021, Rankins signed a two-year, $17 million contract with the New York Jets.[18] That season, he played in 16 regular season games while starting in 3, making 3 sacks, 32 combined tackles, 7 quarterback hits and 2 fumble recoveries.[19]

On November 8, 2022, on a first down in the first quarter, Rankins forced a fumble on Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, of which Allen recovered for a 2-yard gain.[20] In that win for the Jets, he was ruled out for 4–6 weeks after suffering a dislocated elbow.[21] Rankins returned to play on December 4, in a loss to the Vikings. He ended the season starting in 15 games, with 3 sacks, 43 combined tackles, 7 quarterback hits and 1 forced fumble.[22]

Houston Texans

On March 18, 2023, Rankins signed a one-year, $10.5 million contract with the Houston Texans.[23] He was activated from the physically unable to perform list on July 30.[24] Rankins was named the starting right defensive tackle that season.[25] During the Week 17 victory over the Tennessee Titans, Rankins recovered a fumble by Will Levis and returned it 13 yards for his first NFL touchdown. In 15 starts, he recorded 37 tackles, a forced fumble, and was third on the team with six sacks.

Cincinnati Bengals

On March 18, 2024, Rankins signed a two-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals.[26]


  1. ^ "Sheldon Rankins commits to Louisville".
  2. ^ "Louisville Cardinals' Sheldon Rankins wants to 'wreak havoc' in final season". The Courier-Journal. July 20, 2015.
  3. ^ "Louisville's Sheldon Rankins praises Auburn offense, but hopes to 'wreak havoc'".
  4. ^ "Breakdown: Louisville DE Sheldon Rankins one to watch tonight".
  5. ^ "NFL Events: Combine Player Profiles - Sheldon Rankins". National Football League.
  6. ^ "2016 NFL Draft Listing". Retrieved May 17, 2023.
  7. ^ "NFL draft: Results, analysis for every Round 1 pick". April 29, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  8. ^ Sessler, Marc. "Sheldon Rankins breaks fibula, will have surgery". NFL. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  9. ^ "Saints put linebacker James Laurinaitis on injured reserve, ending his season". November 5, 2016.
  10. ^ "New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings - October 28th, 2018". Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  11. ^ Patra, Kevin (January 15, 2019). "Saints signing Tyrunn Walker to help replace Rankins". Archived from the original on January 16, 2019.
  12. ^ Gantt, Darin (April 24, 2019). "Saints pick up fifth-year option on Sheldon Rankins". Pro Football Talk. NBC Sports.
  13. ^ "Saints place Marcus Davenport, Sheldon Rankins on injured reserve". December 11, 2019.
  14. ^ "Saints send Sheldon Rankins, Justin Hardee to IR, activate Ty Montgomery ahead of Bucs game". November 6, 2020.
  15. ^ "New Orleans Saints announce roster moves". December 5, 2020.
  16. ^ "Wild Card - Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints - January 10th, 2021". Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  17. ^ "Sheldon Rankins 2020 Game Log". Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  18. ^ Greenberg, Ethan (March 23, 2021). "Jets Sign DL Sheldon Rankins".
  19. ^ "Sheldon Rankins 2021 Game Log". Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  20. ^ "Buffalo Bills at New York Jets - November 6th, 2022". Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  21. ^ "Sheldon Rankins out 4-6 weeks with dislocated elbow". Retrieved June 29, 2023.
  22. ^ "Sheldon Rankins 2022 Game Log". Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  23. ^ "Houston Texans Transactions (3-18-2023)". Houston Texans Public Relations. March 18, 2023. Retrieved March 18, 2023.
  24. ^ "Houston Texans Transactions (7-30-2023)". Retrieved July 30, 2023.
  25. ^ "Houston Texans 2023 NFL Depth Chart". ESPN. Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  26. ^ "Bengals Sign Sheldon Rankins". Retrieved March 18, 2024.