Nick Fairley, even including the costly penalty at the end of the game a couple of weeks ago, has been a revelation for the middle of the New Orleans Saints defensive line. When he originally signed in New Orleans, though, he wasn’t the expected starter. That job was to be handed to 2016 1st Round Pick Sheldon Rankins out of Louisville.
Then the preseason happened, Rankins broke his fibula, and has yet to play a snap in the 2016 NFL regular season. In the mean time, the Saints defensive line has been an average unit both against the run and in generating pressure on opposing QBs. It should be noted, though, that “average” is leaps and bounds better than where they were last season.
Now reinforcements are coming.
Former Louisville standout @RankinsSheldon expected to make his NFL debut this week at S.F. He’s missed past 11 weeks with fractured fibula. https://t.co/cY0F6skra2— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) November 3, 2016
Rankins will now have the chance to show Saints fans just why he deserved their first round selection. If he can continue to show moves like this, the Saints defensive lines might now become one of their strengths:
Sheldon Rankins had a pretty nice rush here https://t.co/A5XculcdnW— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) August 13, 2016
Improved play from the defensive line can only help improve the play of the Saints secondary as well, which might be without S Kenny Vaccaro but will hopefully see another awaited return: CB Delvin Breaux.