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2016 NFL Draft: With pick #12 New Orleans select Sheldon Rankins

Pick AnalysisWith the 12th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select Sheldon Rankings, DT, Lou


Pick Analysis

With the 12th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select Sheldon Rankings, DT, Louisville. The Saints needed help on this defense, lots of help. Starting with Rankings is a good idea. Cam Jordan needs some pass rush help, whether it is from the interior or edge. Rankings is the best 3-technique DT in this draft. He is a very good interior pass rusher but is also stout enough to play as a 2 gap DT. He is quick of the ball, gets good leverage and can win with speed or power. He is a real fit in this defense and will be a big asset to this team. (Remy Cabache)

Player Analysis

Rankins has enjoyed quite a rise up draft boards already at this relatively early stage in the process, most significantly due to a dominating performance during Senior Bowl practices.  There was nothing out of character there however, as he has been a real stand out for the past two years for the Cardinals as a force on the defensive line.  The Senior Bowl week was confirmation of the skill set that Rankins has displayed, with his exceptional reactions, speed off the snap and driving power proving impossible to stop during one on one drills against top O-linemen.  That translated to game situations as an effective interior rusher with 26.5 TFLs and 14 sacks over the past two seasons as both a tackle and 3-4 end.  Rankins isn’t the tallest at a shade under 6ft 2, and lacks ideal length, but the way he moves at his size is rare.  His speed isn’t limited to his reactions and feet; Rankins has fast hands that are also heavy and violent.  If his initial get-off doesn’t win, he follows up with his upper body technique to disengage and make the play.  He backs all this up with a high motor and boundless energy to his overall very physical style of play.  That effort shows up in his play versus the run as well, showing good awareness and timing to make plays on the ball carrier, as well as being effective in pursuit too.  There’s some games in which Rankins was kept troublingly quiet (such as the bowl game versus Texas A&M), but when he’s on form he is incredibly destructive.  His 2015 performance against Florida State was excellent.  He opened up eyes at the Senior Bowl but has backed that up over his Louisville career.  It would be a surprise now if he didn’t go in the top half of the first round. (Rebecca Rennie)

Grade A


2016 NFL Draft: With pick #12 New Orleans select Sheldon Rankins

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