Source: Saints think star DT Sheldon Rankins tore Achilles tendon

NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Saints believe that standout defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins tore his Achilles tendon on Sunday, a source confirmed to ESPN.

The news was first reported by the NFL Network after Rankins was carted off the field in the first quarter of New Orleans' 20-14 divisional-round playoff win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Rankins has an MRI scheduled for Monday to confirm the diagnosis, the source said.

Rankins, the 12th pick in the 2016 draft out of Louisville, had a breakout year in his third season, with eight sacks, 15 quarterback hits, 12 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. The 6-foot-2, 305-pounder was also a big reason New Orleans ranked second in the NFL in run defense while posting a 13-3 record and earning the NFC's No. 1 seed.

"When he went down, I saw what he was holding, saw the way his leg was, the way his foot was turned, I had a feeling that was it, but I didn't want to expect the worst," said DE Alex Okafor, who tore his Achilles last season and returned from the injury this year.

Rankins had started 44 straight games, including the playoffs, after returning from the broken leg that he suffered in his first NFL preseason in 2016.