No black and gold surprise: Saints select Sheldon Rankins with 12th pick

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LEXINGTON, KY – NOVEMBER 28: Sheldon Rankins #98 of the Louisville Cardinals tackles Mikel Horton #4 of the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – The Saints hope they have filled one of their biggest needs with the 12th pick in the NFL draft.

New Orleans selected Defensive end Sheldon Rankins from Louisville. He is 6-1 and 1/8th and weighs 299 pounds. Rankins had 13 quarterback sacks and 6 forced fumbles in 2015.

“An ascending player with Pro Bowl potential,” said NFL draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki  of Rankins.

Rankins was a two-time team captain. He has his degree from Louisville in health and human performance.

Rankins can help shore up a Saints defense that allowed almost 30 points a game, and 4.9 yards per opponent’s rushing attempt in 2015.

He is the 10th defensive end selected by the Saints in the first round of the NFL draft. Among the other 9 was fellow Louisville Cardinal Joe Johnson, a first round pick in 1994.

Johnson is a member of the Saints Hall of Fame.

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