Within the last few days, CBS Sports has been ranking each team’s best draft class since 2000. When it came to the Saints’ draft classes there were many good ones to choose from. However, it had to have come down to the 2006, 2016, or 2017 class. Those to me, are the three best we have seen. CBS Sports elected to choose 2006 as the best. Now, let’s see how I rank them.
2016 Draft Class
2016 is a very underrated class for the Saints in general. Most forget just how good this draft was. For me, it is the third best we have seen since 2000.
12th Overall- Sheldon Rankins
In the first round at pick 12, we took Sheldon Rankins. Rankins has been a rock on our defensive line since he was drafted. His only problem has been injuries, but you can see a major difference when he is out there vs when he’s not. Shimmy Sheldon has 96 career tackles, 16 sacks, and an interception in 51 games played. The Saints exercised Rankins’ 5th year option last off season, so he will be a free agent after this year.
47th Overall- Michael Thomas
There isn’t really much that need to be said about Mike Thomas. You just Cantguardmike. He has been improving ever since he entered the league. He has never had a season with less than a thousand receiving yards. This past year, he broke the single season receptions record and won the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year. There was not a chance the best WR in the NFL was getting out of the building, so last off season, Thomas agreed to a five-year $61 million extension.
61st Overall- Vonn Bell
Vonn Bell has been the Saints’ starting Strong Safety for a few years now. This past year was his last on his deal and he departed for Cincinnati on a three-year $18 million contract after he couldn’t agree to a deal with us. Bell played in 61 games for the black and gold, 45 of which were starts. He had 348 total tackles, 8 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, and 7 fumble recoveries.
120th Overall- David Onyemata
David Onyemata is another key piece of this defensive line. He is late bloomer in terms of he didn’t hit the ground running, but he is solid. Onyemata is a key piece in the Saints’ run defense that has been top of the league for multiple years now. He has played in 65 games, but only 25 of those games were starts. Onyemata has a career stat line of 123 total tackles, 9.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. In March, the Saints re-upped Onyemata for 3 years and $27 million with $18 million guaranteed.
237th Overall- Daniel Lasco
Daniel Lasco was a Running Back who the Saints selected late. He was never really expected to start, but he came in and played on Special Teams. Unfortunately, Lasco’s career came to an end in just his second season when he suffered a spine injury against Buffalo back in 2017. Lasco had to be stretchered off the field and taken to the hospital. He is doing well now, but sadly never saw the NFL field again.
The Saints have been one of the best franchises in the draft for years now. The 2016 class comes in as my 3rd best Saints’ draft class since 2000. Make sure to check back tomorrow to find out which class gets the second spot. Hold it.