The Saints moved up with a big leap in the first round this year. They traded their 2018 first-round pick (27), one of their fifth-round picks (147), and their 2019 first-round pick to Green Bay to move up to the 14th overall pick. With that pick they selected University of Texas, San Antonio EDGE Rusher Marcus Davenport.
The fact of the matter is that some might feel that this pick is underwhelming. There’s a common dialogue that Davenport is a project pick. However, if the Saints staff is willing to move up like this to pick him, they know exactly what they want to do with him. Davenport is a 6’7″ 264 pound beast who ran a 4.58 40. He has a wide variety of pass rushing moves from both two and three-point stances. He has speed, finesse, and power. The only development he needs is learning how to use his skillset and that’s exactly what our coaches have the ability to do. Ryan Nielsen is a guru at the defensive line coaching job and should speed up Davenport’s development quite a bit.
His near 34″ arm length will help him keep separation from opposing blockers and his flexibility will help him get under them when he needs to. He has an immense amount of talent and, at the very least, will only need to improve upon 4.5 sacks this coming season in order to make his mark. I anticipate he has the ability to do more than that.
NFL.com compares Davenport to Danielle Hunter and he’s drawn multiple combine comparisons to Jedeveon Clowney. He’s a durable player, playing in all but his final game as a freshman and one of his games as a sophomore. He set school records as a senior with 17.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks. He finished his career at UTSA with 21.5 sacks as well as 37.5 tackles for a loss. He’s a force in both the passing a running game. And clearly, he’s too big and too strong for running backs to slow him down.
The Saints passed on Boise State EDGE Harold Landry, Louisville QB Lamar Jackson, Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds, and Florida State DB Derwin James to select Davenport. That’s some lofty talent to pass on, so I trust that the Saints brass knows exactly what they’re doing with this pick and I’m actually excited to see what comes of his talents in New Orleans.