Despite having just five picks in the 2016 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints pulled off possibly one of the best draft classes in years. Three of the five picks were used to sure up the leagues worst defense in terms of yards per game. Still, unlike Ditka I’d rather have more picks rather than one great one. Listed below includes an analysis on each player selected and why they were a good for this football team.
Sheldon Rankins, Defensive End, Louisville Round 1, 12th pick
Rankins is the dominate “3-technique” that all 4-3 defenses rely on. The acquisition of Rankins will help out both the pass defense and rush defense that were among the leagues worse a year ago. Last season at Louisville, the 6’2″ 205 lb. tackle racked up 8 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. Rankins stood out at the Senior Bowl where he made headlines all week due to his abilities in the one on one sessions. The former All-ACC performer will be a great fit on this Saints’ defensive line that desperately needed help. He should help the Saints win more games in 2016.
Michael Thomas, Wide Reciever, Ohio State Round 2, 47th pick
Prior to the draft, Thomas was considered one of the top possession WRs in the country. He has great size and will instantly become one of Drew Brees’ favorite targets. Since he’s an All-Time great for the Saints, Thomas should come out firing. At 6’4″ and 215 lbs, look for Thomas to become an instant jump ball threat in the Red Zone. This selection makes an already potent offense even better.
Vonn Bell, Safety, Ohio State Round 2, 61st pick
Perhaps the biggest move of the draft for the Saints was to trade two of their picks for Bell. New Orleans desperately need picks to immediately help out their defense, and they found them both in the first two days of the draft. Bell is a versatile safety who is an average downhill tackler and a great cover player. Last season at OSU, Bell helped lead his team to a national championship and earned 1st Team All-American honors from the Associated Press. Concerns over his ability to “fill the alley” and play downhill led to Bell’s falling out of the first two rounds. Despite those concerns, the Saints will expect Bell to improve and compete for a starting job during this season.
David Onyemata, Defensive Tackle, Mantioba Round 4, 120th pick
The biggest reach for the Saints during this draft was the selection of Onyemata. Onyemata never stepped onto a football field until he arrived at college in Winnipeg, Canada. Despite the inexperience and level of competition, he has proven to possess elite raw power and strength that opponents dread. If Onyemata is open to coaching, he has the upside to become a steal as the 120th overall pick.
Daniel Lascro, Running Back, California Round 7, 237th pick
If not for an injury plagued senior season at California, Lascro would most likely have been picked on day 2 of the draft. Instead he slid to the final round where he was scooped up by the Saints. He wowed scouts at the NFL combine with a 41.5 inch vertical which was the best of any player present. Lascro, however, will have to claw his way to a roster spot with a very crowed New Orleans backfield. If he wants to make the team, he will have do it by becoming a special teams threat in the preseason.