The New Orleans Saints only had five picks in the NFL Draft, but almost all of those players were at positions of need and should be able to help out immediately. Here's how we think each of those players will contribute in their rookie seasons:
DT Sheldon Rankins - Starter
Rankins was one of the best defensive tackle prospects in the 2016 draft class because of his ability to stop the run while rushing the passer up the middle. New Orleans' defense was disastrous up the middle last year, and he'll immediately provide a big help in that area. He will be competing with Nick Fairley and John Jenkins for the two starting jobs, but it's hard to believe Rankins won't get one of them.
WR Michael Thomas - Starter
Thomas gives the Saints a big-body receiver they need to pair with the likes of Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead, meaning he should see a good deal of time right away - especially in the red zone.
S Vonn Bell - Impact roation player
New Orleans traded up to get Bell at the end of the second round, giving them excellent value since he was projected to be a late first-round pick. He will play behind Jarius Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro at safety, but his superb coverage skills mean he'll see a lot of time in passing situations as either a nickel corner or safety. Don't count out a potential full-time switch to cornerback, either.
DT David Onyemata - Rotation player
The 12th player ever drafted from Canada, Onyemata has the potential to be an impact player. He needs time to develop, but his strength and explosion should allow him to contribute sooner rather than later.
RB Daniel Lasco - Backup/practice squad
This pick is all about upside. Lasco is an elite athlete and a pretty good receiver out of the backfield, but he'll have trouble cracking the rotation behind Mark Ingram, Travaris Cadet and C.J. Spiller.Back to the New Orleans Saints Newsfeed