Defensive Tackle, Louisville
Height: 6-1, Weight: 299; Round: 1, Pick: 12
Who is he: A two-time captain for Louisville, Rankins was highly productive, piling up 18 sacks, including 14 in his final two seasons, and he also produced 111 tackles in those two seasons, along with two interceptions and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown.
WHAT HE CAN DO: Rankins is a penetrating defensive tackle who profiles perfectly as a three-technique defensive tackle, lining up on the outside shoulder of the guard and using quickness to get penetration and create havoc in the backfield. A former high school basketball player, Rankins has freakish quickness for a 300-pound player, and he fits in the mold of the Rams’ Aaron Donald and the Bengals’ Geno Atkins.
PLAYER SPEAK: “I can come in and play wherever they need me to play. I don’t have a preference.”
GURU TALK: “He’s something the Saints and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen can build around. Pressure from the inside is going to help guys like Cameron Jordan get around the outside.”
— Jon Gruden, ESPN
DID YOU KNOW?: Rankins is the second Louisville defensive lineman the Saints have selected in the first round. The other? Defensive end Joe Johnson, who had a productive seven-year career in New Orleans, piling up 50.5 sacks, sixth in team history.