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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. The Saints drafted the third defensive lineman selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, Sheldon Rankins, out of Louisville. The five-year pro posted 20 tackles (13 solo), 1.5 sacks and one pass defense, adding one takedown in the NFC Wild Card playoff win over Chicago in 2020. Rankins had his best game in Week 5 of the 2020 regular season against the Los Angeles Chargers, posting five tackles (three solo), two stops for loss, two quarterback hits and one sack. In thrilling fashion, the Saints would go on to win 30-27 after kicker Wil Lutz knocked home a 36-yard field goal.

In 2019, Thomas put together the best season by a receiver in league history. 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.

In 2020, defensive tackle David Onyemata started in 15 regular season games, recording a career-high 44 tackles (20 solo) and 6.5 sacks, which ranked third on the team and first among defensive tackles. The 6-foot-4, 300-pounder defended two passes while adding 16 quarterback hits. In Week 9 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Onyemata recorded his first career interception, picking off Tom Brady with 11:05 to play in the second quarter and setting up a five-play, 27-yard touchdown drive.

In 2019, safety Vonn Bell finished the regular season ranked second on the team with 86 tackles (63 solo), had his first pick, and had a club-best five fumble recoveries, which was the most by a Saint since safety Sammy Knight's five in 2001. Bell currently plays for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Saints 2016 draft summary:

New Orleans selected Rankins with the 12th overall 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 overall selection to draft Bell was acquired from the New England Patriots in exchanges for both the Saints' third round (78th overall) and their 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 defensive linemen David 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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