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2016 NFL Draft Results: Grading the Sheldon Rankins Pick

With their first round pick, the Saints have selected DT Sheldon Rankins. How do you grade the pick?

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

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


Powerfully 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.


Undersized for full-­time interior position by NFL standards. Flashes quite a bit on tape, but many of his victims lacked the strength that he’ll 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 guard’s 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.


Everything 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.

What do you think Who Dat Nation?  Do you love, like, or loathe this selection?  Give us your take in our poll, and leave us your insight and opinions below.


Saints 2016 NFL Draft Picks

Round Pick Overall Player
1 12 12 Sheldon Rankins (Louisville)
2 16 47
3 15 78
4 14 112
5 13 152
7 16 237

Saints Team Needs

  • Defensive End
  • Defensive Tackle
  • Linebacker
  • Guard
  • Wide Receiver
  • Cornerback

Saints Draft Resources

NFL Draft Schedule

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)

NFL Network and ESPN/ESPN2 will televise the draft.

Live Draft Tracker