With the 12th overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints have selected Louisville Defensive Tackle, Sheldon Rankins.
Here is a look at the newest Saint, from NFL.com:
STRENGTHSPowerfully built lower half with very good strength. Is extremely compact, but still flexible and very athletic. Everything he does is explosive. Fires into blockers and can jolt and displace them with a combination of leverage and power. Strong base provides excellent balance to battle against double teams or down blocks. At times, will absolutely own finesse blockers. Elite foot quickness for interior defender. Will be difficult to hook or crossface for NFL offensive linemen because of his lateral quickness. Plays with powerful, violent hands. Can play in 2-gap or 1-gap scheme and did just that at Louisville. Plays through the blocker reading and shedding on time to make tackles against the run. Loose, explosive hips that allow him to win edge battles and turn the corner as pass rusher and potentially excel in twist game. Highly productive pass rusher in each of the last two season. Bloodhound with great instincts to diagnose and shutdown screens.
WEAKNESSESUndersized for full-time interior position by NFL standards. Flashes quite a bit on tape, but many of his victims lacked the strength that hell see from NFL guards. Despite having decent arm length, is hardly long-levered and could struggle to turn the corner against an NFL redirect block once he gets on a guards edge. Average secondary rush when his initial charge is stymied. Scouts believe he could lose some quickness if he tries to bulk up to prepare for rigors of NFL interior play. Some teams are concerned about his lack of overall size which could hurt his stock.
BOTTOM LINEEverything about Rankins game screams winning football player. He has been extremely productive as a bullrusher and edge rusher and he can hold the point of attack or play in gaps. Rankins is a ball of power with rare foot quickness, a great motor and outstanding feel for his position. With so many teams playing in subpackages now, I would expect both 4-3 and 3-4 teams to consider him for an interior spot despite his shorter stature. Thanks to Rankins' ability to disrupt, I think he has a great shot at getting starter's snaps early on, but don't be shocked to see him fall a little in the draft due to his smaller stature.
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Saints 2016 NFL Draft Picks
|1||12||12||Sheldon Rankins (Louisville)|
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Thursday, April 28 - 7pm CST (Round 1 - 10 Minutes Per Pick)
Friday, April 29 - 6pm CST (Round 2 - 7 Minutes, Round 3 - 5 Minutes Per Pick)
Saturday, April 30 - 11am CST (Rounds 4-6 - 5 Minutes Per Pick, Round 7 - 4 Minutes Per Pick)
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