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|