The New Orleans Saints have always been a team focused on developed, and they certainly have been showing that with defensive end Marcus Davenport.
Trading up in the 2018 NFL Draft to make sure they got their need, the New Orleans Saints gave up a haul to get Marcus Davenport. An absolute beast at Texas-San Antonio, Davenport was a top EDGE prospect coming into the draft.
However, the Saints really made him a priority, trading multiple picks to slide up in the draft to bring him to the Big Easy. Well, it didn’t seem to pay off immediately as Davenport’s first season in the league was underwhelming to say the least. But, he made up for it in round 2.
In his second season in the league, the 6-foot-6 Davenport played and started in 13 games. Sadly, he missed the last three and their postseason matchup with Minnesota due to a season-ending foot injury.
That said, Davenport’s second season was good enough to have him nominated as New Orleans’ most improved player by Pro Football Focus. Here’s an excerpt of what PFF’s Ben Linsey said on Davenport.
“After a 2018 season in which he earned a 69.7 overall grade, buoyed by strong play in run defense, Davenport saw significant improvement in his second season. His pass-rush win rate rose from 13.5% to 18.4%, and he increased his raw pressure count from 28 in his rookie season to 50 last year despite missing the end of the season with an injury. Davenport also increased his run-defense grade from 76.2 to 82.4. He and Cameron Jordan form a dangerous edge duo in New Orleans.”
The New Orleans pass rush, as Linsey noted, was dangerous in 2019. Jordan posted a career year while Davenport also improved tremendously. The duo should be in for another dominant season in 2020.
With players like linebacker AJ Klein and cornerback Eli Apple possibly not re-signing, it will be up for those Davenport and Jordan to pick up the production and make more action on the line. In 2020, Davenport can take the next step into all-out stardom.
He went from 4.5 sacks in 2019 to 6.0 in 2020. If he can hit 8 or 9 in all 16 games, he’d easily be up for consideration as the most improved Saint two years in a row.
That said, in the wise words of future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, let’s run it back. 2020 should be the season that Davenport and the Saints take their game to the next level.