Here Is The New Orleans Saints First Round Draft Pick
Last year, the New Orleans Saints were either last, or next-to-last, in ever major defensive statistic in the NFL. So going into tonight's NFL Draft, most experts knew the Saints were looking hard to improve that side of the ball. But it wasn't going to be that easy.
As the draft rolled into form, some of the biggest defensive names (like Joey Bosa at pick #3 or Jalen Ramsey at #5) came off the board early. Some of the players that had been rumored for the Saints were still hanging out there, Shaq Lawson from Clemson and A'Shawn Robinson from Alabama. But as we got closer to their pick, things got interesting.
During the interview process of the draft, the Saints talked to only one player three times, and that was quarterback Paxton Lynch from Memphis. Lynch was projected as the #1 overall pick at multiple points during the draft predicting-period. There was a solid chance that the Saints could have taken their Brees successor at this slot...but they didn't.
Another player that seemed to be falling into their lap was a player who could have been taken as early as #3 tonight. But, with a video released just before the draft, showing him smoking marijuana, Laremy Tunsil started falling. Tunsil, from Ole Miss, was projected by many as the top player in this draft. The Saints could use the help on their offensive line, so this was shaping up to create an interesting situation for their pick at #12. (Note, Tunsil ended up getting taken at #13)
With the #12 pick, the Saints did help that defense, taking Louisville defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins. This kid is a monster. He's 6'2 and about 287 lbs, and he is STRONG. He's a player who will contribute to this defense from day one, and partnering him with newly signed D-lineman Nick Fairley and longtime Saints star Cameron Jordan, Rankins may have just turned this defensive front from one of the leagues worst, into one of the league's best...at least on paper.