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New Orleans Saints draft history: Review of 2016 selections

Michael Thomas headlines Saints 2016 draft class

The 2016 draft yielded five players to the New Orleans Saints, including record-setting wide receiver Michael Thomas in the second round, who is now an unrestricted free agent. The Saints drafted the third defensive lineman selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, Sheldon Rankins, out of Louisville. Rankins played five seasons with the Saints, starting 33 games. He played two seasons with the New York Jets and last season with the Houston Texans.

In 2019, Thomas put together the best season by a receiver in league history in 2019. The Ohio State product won his second consecutive NFL receiving title, totaling an NFL-record 149 receptions for 1,725 yards, the seventh-highest single-season total in league history and also a team record. Thomas' nine touchdowns tied for the team lead. Thomas was named first-team AP All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl. He finished his Saints career with 565 receptions for 6,569 yards and 36 touchdowns.

Defensive tackle David Onyemata, a 6-foot-4, 300-pounder, played seven seasons in New Orleans with 106 appearances and 68 starts after being selected with the 120th pick. He played last season with the Atlanta Falcons.

Safety Vonn Bell was drafted with the 61st selection and played four seasons with the Saints, starting 45 games. He played three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals (2020-2022) before playing last season with the Carolina Panthers. He has re-joined the Bengals for the 2024 season.

Saints 2016 draft summary:

New Orleans selected Rankins with the 12th pick. In the second round, the Black & Gold went all in on Ohio State graduates, selecting Thomas (47th overall) and Bell (61st overall). The 61st selection was acquired from the New England Patriots in exchanges for the Saints' third round (78th overall) and fourth round (112th overall) selections. The Saints traded back into the fourth round, acquiring the 120th overall pick from Washington in exchange for the 152nd overall pick and a fifth-round pick in 2017. The Saints used the 120th pick by drafting Onyemata. New Orleans concluded its selections in the 2016 NFL Draft by choosing running back Daniel Lasco out of California.

2016 New Orleans Saints draft picks:

Table inside Article
Pick # Position Player College
12 DT Sheldon Rankins Louisville
47 WR Michael Thomas Ohio State
61 S Vonn Bell (choice from New England) Ohio State
120 DT David Onyemata (choice from Washington) Manitoba
237 RB Daniel Lasco California

2016 New Orleans Saints draft pick trades:

Table inside Article
Pick # Trade Details
78 Traded to New England in exchange for the rights to draft Vonn Bell 61st overall
112 Traded to New England in exchange for the rights to draft Vonn Bell 61st overall
152 Traded to Washington in exchange for the rights to draft David Onyemata
187 Traded to Washington

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