Two New Orleans Saints among NFL’s Top 20 rookie projections

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Sep 12, 2015; Louisville, KY, USA; /Houston Cougars quarterback Greg Ward Jr. (1) moves the ball against Louisville Cardinals defensive end Sheldon Rankins (98) during second half at Papa John
Sep 12, 2015; Louisville, KY, USA; /Houston Cougars quarterback Greg Ward Jr. (1) moves the ball against Louisville Cardinals defensive end Sheldon Rankins (98) during second half at Papa John /
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NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread wrapped up his series that focused on projecting the Top 100 NFL Rookies for 2016 on Friday, and it has the New Orleans Saints with two players inside the Top 20.

Defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (12th overall) and wide receiver Michael Thomas (47th overall) cracked Goodbread’s Top 15.

The Saints showed interest in Rankins back at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, but hadn’t had any contact since February. Rankins made an impression and checked off all the boxes that Sean Payton’s crew was looking for, and it turned out that the NFL Mock World got one right for a change.

As for Thomas, he’s an exceptional route-runner, and can make defenders look absolutely silly in the process. The Saints could use him in many ways, but he’ll be big in the short game running slants. Pairing any lethal threat of a wide receiver with one of the game’s best, Drew Brees, has all the makings of a home run.

Here’s what Goodbread had to say about two of the newest New Orleans Saints, and their potential impact for the 2016 season:

"4. DT Sheldon Rankins, New Orleans Saints:The Saints had the second-worst run defense in the NFL last year. The need was clear, and Sean Payton has suggested Rankins can be an every-down player. His quickness as a pass rusher was evident at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in January.15. WR Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints: Putting Thomas together with Drew Brees can be as dynamic a pairing as any combination of veteran quarterback and drafted receiver."

Safety Vonn Bell (61st overall) also made the list at No. 23 overall for the New Orleans Saints.

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