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Getting to Know Saints First Round Draft Pick Sheldon Rankins

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The team saw a need at DT and decided to fill it right away by staying put at No. 12. Let's take a closer look at the newest Saints player.

Welcome to Who Dat Nation Big Fella!
Welcome to Who Dat Nation Big Fella!
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After much anticipation and speculation, the New Orleans Saints selected Sheldon Rankins, defensive tackle from Louisville at #12 in the first round. This pick comes as no surprise as Rankins had been mocked to the Saints for quite some time. Now that the guessing is over, lets review the facts about the newest New Orleans Saint!

Sheldon Rankins received the best birthday present ever by being drafted on April 28th as he turned 22 on Draft Day!

Tale of the Tape: 6'1", 299-pounds

Rankins started all 13 games and finished the season with 13 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks among his 58 tackles, along with a pass breakup, four quarterback hits and a fumble recovery. Rankins' quick burst and active, powerful hands will make him an effective interior pass rusher capable of complementing Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Jordan. Rankins' versatility as a starting five-technique or three-technique makes him a fit in any system, so he'll find a nice home on the Saints defensive line.

Here are the Strengths:

(NFL.com) - 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 cross-­face for NFL offensive linemen because of his lateral quickness. Plays with powerful, violent hands.

(CBSSports.com) - Offers the power to line up in the "A gap" and take on multiple blockers, but also has the lateral quickness to stunt and loop around bodies to close on the pocket. Displays terrific effort and is a determined chaser to catch ball-carriers from behind away from the line of scrimmage. He was nearly un-blockable during one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl due to his quickness off the whistle and powerful arms to drive blockers backward. He used a variety of hand moves to swat jabs and swim past the blocker's shoulder. Also impressed during 11-on-11 reps due to his ball awareness, and his ability to read, detach himself from the block and make plays in the backfield.

Here are the Weaknesses:

(NFL.com) - 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.

(CBSSports.com) - Needs to continue to refine his skills. Has active hands, but is still developing his pass rush moves and the placement of his punch. Often the last lineman to move off the ball and needs to improve his snap anticipation. Doesn't always rush with a plan and lacks consistent move-to-move transition. Will stand up at times and needs to play with lower pad level.

Current NFL Comparison: Kawaan Short, DT, Carolina Panthers

Saints Roster at Defensive Tackle:

Nick Fairley, Johnathan  Jenkins, Tyeler Davison, Kaleb Eulls, & Ashaad Mabry

Will Rankins come right in and dominate opposing offensive linemen? Only time will tell. But we do know that he is a physical, talented defensive player who help Cam Jordan tremendously!

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Saints 2016 NFL Draft Picks

Round Pick Overall Player
1 12 12 Sheldon Rankins, DT, 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

Friday, April 29 - 6 p.m. CT (Round 2 - 7 Minutes, Round 3 - 5 Minutes Per Pick)

Saturday, April 30 - 11 a.m. CT (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