By Sam Draut–

Sheldon Rankins, one of the key contributors in U of L’s top-25 ranked defense, was selected 12th overall by the New Orleans Saints in the 2016 NFL Draft. The defense tackle/defensive end is the fifth Cardinal selected in the past three years and the 13th first round pick in program history.

Rankins was a prominent part of defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s 3-4 scheme, playing multiple positions along the defensive line. The 6-foot-1 Georgia native combined athleticism, speed and strength to become one of the best and most versatile lineman in the country. Rankins had 26.5 tackles for a loss and 14 sacks in his final two seasons at Louisville.

ESPN analyst Jon Gruden said Rankins “is the best three technique defensive lineman” in the 2016 draft class.

Photo by Austin Lassell / The Louisville Cardinal