Jets DL Suffers Serious Injury, to Miss at Least 4 Games

Sheldon Rankins, Jets

Getty New York Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins celebrating after making a huge play during an NFL game.

The New York Jets are losing a key cog in their defensive line rotation.

During Sunday’s 20-17 upset win over the Buffalo Bills, former first-rounder Sheldon Rankins suffered a “dislocated elbow”, per ESPN NFL Insider Jeremy Fowler.

Fowler said, “depending on the healing process” he could miss anywhere between four and six weeks.

Sheldon Rankins Is a Key Loss for the Jets Defense

Head coach Robert Saleh was asked after the Bills game if he owned the best defense in the National Football League. He paused for a moment and said ask Buffalo what they think of that question.

One of the secret sauces of that elite Jets defense has been the resurgent play of Rankins in a Jets uniform.

After a wayward first season with the team in 2021, Rankins has flipped the switch and reminded everyone why he was the No. 12 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft.

Through the first nine games of this season, the former Louisville product has racked up two sacks, 25 total tackles, and one forced fumble.

Rankins has delivered some solid grades from Pro Football Focus as well to back up the stats:

  • 74.5 overall grade
  • 70.6 pass-rush grade
  • 62 run defense grade

With Rankins out for the foreseeable future, the Jets only have three interior defensive linemen left on the active roster with Quinnen Williams, Solomon Thomas, and Nathan Shepherd.

Gang Green does have two practice squad players available in Tanzel Smart and Jonathan Marshall. Also as Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic noted on Twitter, John Franklin-Myers and Micheal Clemons can also slide inside situationally.

Where Do the Jets Turn Now After Sheldon Rankins Injury?

Head coach Robert Saleh said on The Michael Kay Show that this bye comes at a “perfect time” and he wasn’t kidding.

That well-timed bye also allows the Jets to kick the can down the road on this Rankins situation. Saleh said the team won’t make any decisions on whether or not to place him on injured reserve until they get back next week.

If the Jets choose that option, Rankins would have to miss a minimum of four games. Perhaps the full bye week and then the week leading into the New England Patriots rematch could alter their potential plans for Rankins.

Despite his first-round status, Rankins isn’t a name that will raise a lot of alarm bells for the fan base but he has been playing at an insane level this season.

Zack Rosenblatt described him as a “big loss” and someone that has “flown under the radar.” Rankins is one of the vocal leaders on this team and has either secured sacks himself or for his teammates throughout the season.

Joe Blewett of Jets X-Factor did some tape breakdown from Sunday’s contest and showed how dominant he was versus the Buffalo Bills.

Prior to Rankins getting hurt, there was a lot of chatter on Jets’ social media that they needed to add some more beef on the inside. Obviously, the team agreed with that notion as they have been kicking the tires on a few free agents for tryouts over the last few weeks.

They have a few in-house options available but you should fully expect the Jets to add a veteran here sooner rather than later.

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