Sheldon Rankins became the fifth Cardinal selected in the first round in the last three years

Louisville defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the NFL Draft

Are you a young high school athlete with dreams of developing into an NFL first round draft pick? If so, Louisville can get you there.

When defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins was selected with the with the 12th overall pick by the New Orleans Saints during the NFL Draft on Thursday evening, he became the fifth Cardinal to be chosen in the opening round during the past three years.  DeVante Parker was selected by the Miami Dolphins in 2015, while a trio of Cardinals - Calvin Pryor, Marcus Smith and Teddy Bridgewater - heard their name called on the first day in 2014.

"This shows just how much talent the program at the University of Louisville has," Rankins said during a post-draft teleconference.

Rankins is the second-highest drafted player in Louisville program history, trailing only Amobi Okoye who was selected 10th by the Houston Texans in 2007.  He's the 13th Cardinal to be selected in the NFL Draft's first round.

“Being a first round pick is a great accomplishment and a much-deserved honor," said U of L head coach Bobby Petrino. "He has worked so hard to perfect his craft and he is one of the most complete football players I have ever coached."

The Covington, Ga., native, Rankins is the 16th defensive linemen to be drafted from Louisville and is the fifth interior player taken in the first round.  He becomes the 32nd Cardinal to be selected in the NFL Draft under head coach Bobby Petrino.

RELATED: Louisville's NFL Draft history

First Round Selections

2016 12 Sheldon Rankins DT New Orleans Saints
2015 14 DeVante Parker WR Miami Dolphins
2014 18 Calvin Pryor S NY Jets
2014 26 Marcus Smith DE Philadelphia Eagles
2014 32 Teddy Bridgewater QB Minnesota Vikings
2009 28 Eric Wood C Buffalo Bills
2007 10 Amobi Okoye DT Houston Texans
1994 13 Joe Johnson DE New Orleans Saints
1991 25 Ted Washington DT San Francisco 49er's
1987 23 Bruce Armstrong OT New England Patriots
1980 19 Otis Wilson LB Chicago Bears
1964 Ken Kortas DT St. Louis Cardinals
1958 Lenny Lyles DB Baltimore Colts

Cardinal Authority Top Stories