Former Louisville DL Sheldon Rankins set to become the fifth first-round pick in the NFL Draft in three years for the Cardinals

Former University of Louisville defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins is set to become the school's fifth first-round pick in the last three NFL Drafts this week. The Draft will become on Thursday and Rankins is tabbed as a top 15 pick.

Former University of Louisville defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins is set for the biggest night of his life.

Rankins said he'll watch the NFL Draft with his family as the 6-foot-1, 300 pounder is set to become Louisville's fifth first-round pick in he NFL Draft in the last three years.

"I watched all those guys and I hope to be just like them," Rankins said during his pro day last month. "Those are guys that I looked up too and helped me learn so much."

Rankins was talking about Calvin Pryor, Marcus Smith, Teddy Bridgewater and DeVante Parker.

All three were picked in the first round and the projections have Rankins going somewhere in the middle of the first round. He's projected as the No. 12 pick by the New Orleans Saints in at least seven mock drafts.

He's also been projected at No. 14 to the Raiders, No. 19 to the Bills, No. 21 to the Redskins, No. 27 to the Packers and No. 28 to the Chiefs.

"I just want to go somewhere and work hard and play," Rankins said. "I want to get to work."

Louisville is one of eight programs nationally that has produced at least one first-round pick the last two seasons, joining Central Florida, Texas A&M, Clemson, Alabama, Michigan State, Florida and Florida State.

As a senior, Rankins had 58 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, six sacks, seven quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery for a 46-yard TD.

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