Sheldon Rankins made history Thursday night as he became the first player from Eastside High School to ever be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft and the second from Covington overall.
Rankins was chosen by the New Orleans Saints with the No. 12 pick in the draft, making him the first first-rounder since Dale Carter in 1992. The former Eagle played four seasons with the Louisville Cardinals, ending the 2015 season with six sacks and 53 tackles, 13 of which were for loss.
Rankins was the No. 1 defensive tackle in the draft and has been praised by ESPN and many NFL teams for his versatility, explosiveness and polite demeanor. He was among the 25 players invited to attend the draft in Chicago but ultimately chose to stay home and watch with his family.
Rankins told his family prior to the draft that he had no preference for where he’d like to play professionally.
“It’s business for him,” said Cheryl Rankins, Sheldon’s mother. “He just wants to play football.”
And now he will play on the biggest stage there is.