The Saints have agreed to sign defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Walker will provide support in the wake of Sheldon Rankins’ season-ending torn Achilles. Rankins has been formally placed on IR.
Walker first broke into the league with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He made the roster in his first year, but was a healthy scratch throughout his first pro season. He finally saw the field in 2013 and managed 2.5 sacks in ’14 as a nose tackle for New Orleans. Since then, he’s had stints with the Lions and Rams, but did not see live action in the 2018 season.
Walker, in all likelihood, will not see time in the NFC Championship Game unless he is absolutely needed. Instead, the Saints figure to use interior defenders such as Tyeler Davison, David Onyemata, and Taylor Stallworth to make up for Rankins’ absence.
Rankins, 24, played the most snaps of any Saints defensive tackle in 2018, managing 40 tackles (12 for loss), eight sacks, and 15 quarterback hits in the process. Pro Football Focus, meanwhile, graded Rankins as the No. 23 interior defender among 119 qualifiers.