Saints Select DL Sheldon Rankins 12th Overall [VIDEO]
Rejoice, Who Dat Nation. The Saints used their first round draft pick on a defensive lineman. Sheldon Rankins, say hello to a lot of playtime.
Rankins and his people loved the number they saw when the phone rang.
"I saw 504 and I knew it was New Orleans," Rankins said shortly after being selected. "The place erupted, so to speak, and it's been a great moment since and I haven't come down from that high yet."
New Orleans was sitting pretty at 12th overall, and with their pick of the litter on defense, they chose Louisville's monster in the trenches. Rankins will immediately bolster the pass rush from the interior of the line, and his ability to plug the middle and stop the run will be a much needed addition.
With Joey Bosa and DeForest Buckner off the board by the 7th pick, the Saints made the smart choice with Rankins. They used almost every second on the clock, possibly looking to trade down, but at the end of the day they took the guy that 90% of draft analysts projected.
In a draft full of trades and surprises, it panned out right for the Saints. Just look at this beast.
If you didn't notice, Rankins terrorized quarterbacks (18 career sacks) and constantly dealt with double-teams. He gets in the backfield on a regular basis (13.5 tackles for loss last season with 8 sacks), and he fills a gaping hole in the interior of the Saints' line.
The Saints bolstered the pass rush last year with Hau'oli Kikaha, and Stephone Anthony might end up being a Pro-Bowler before it's all said and done. Two linebackers last year, and a defensive lineman to start the 2016 Draft. Drew Brees might finally have a defense again.
Rankins' 14 sacks over the last two years is an eye-popping number for an interior lineman. The Saints possibly got the best match for a pure defensive tackle to use in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme, and they didn't have to trade up.