AFR: Saints make popular choice in Rankins

AFR: Saints make popular choice in Rankins

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Sometimes the most obvious choice is the correct one.

That was clearly the case with the Saints' selection of Louisville defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins.

One year ago, the Saints picked tackle Andrus Peat, a player no one saw coming, in the first round. They went the safe route this year and picked Rankins. No doubt the player most draftniks expected them to take all along.

And for good reason. Rankins checks all the boxes. He's smart. He has no baggage. He's versatile (played both DE and DT). He's productive (14 sacks in two seasons, 26.5 tackles for loss). He fills a need this team so desperately needed. He's an explosive three-technique defensive tackle will bring immediate help to a defensive line desperate for play makers.

Don't be fooled by the Saints 31st ranked pass defense. The defensive backfield played a role, but they weren't the biggest culprit. The front line was pathetic. Thus, a better push on the front end will work wonders for this defense on the back end. In fact, if they can find some kind of consistency in the pass rush, this secondary may actually be pretty good.

One popular comparison for Rankins is Aaron Donald of the Rams. I'll go a different route. Given his size and explosiveness, a former Saint comes to mind: La'Roi Glover, who once had 17 sacks in a season.

Sean Payton said at his end-of-year press conference that the Saints must draft better. With Rankins at 12, they're off to a solid start.

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