Saints’ Marcus Davenport comes in at number 17 on our top-25 player rankings, looking primed for a big breakout season in 2020.
In 2018, the New Orleans Saints traded away two first-round picks to the Green Bay Packers in order to move up to the 14th overall pick in the NFL Draft and select 6-foot-6, 265-pound defensive end Marcus Davenport out of UTSA.
Davenport was seen as a raw, athletic freak with a ton of upside coming out of a small school. Draft analysts forecasted him to be a project-type player, but the Saints believed he had the potential to become a game-changer on the defensive line, opposite of the great Cam Jordan.
In 2018, Davenport had a solid rookie season, rotating in on the defensive line, registering 21 tackles, four and a half sacks, two passes defended, and one forced fumble. He was improving each and every week until he suffered a turf toe injury in October.
The injury slowed him down significantly, which later required offseason surgery to fix and limited him to 13 games. Davenport was tough enough to come back from the injury, but it was clear he wasn’t the same player.
In 2019, expectations were certainly higher for the second-year player. Davenport definitely took a step forward, finishing with 31 tackles, six sacks, and three forced fumbles but was again unable to finish the season due to a foot injury he suffered in December.
It looked like Davenport was really starting to catch fire before the injury, and it was extremely unfortunate for both him and the Saints that his season ended so prematurely. After the injury, the Saints rate of pressure per snap fell drastically, from top-10 all the way down to bottom-5 in the league.
Davenport has all the tools to be extremely successful in the NFL and when he’s healthy, he’s a force on the defensive line. His combination of elite quickness and power can be devastating to any offensive line and he’s shown just how important he is to the defense.
There are plays where Davenport treats another player like a ragdoll, throwing him out of the way with his freakish strength and playmaking ability. It’s boom or bust time for Davenport in the upcoming 2020 season, and the Saints are expecting big things out of the third-year pro.
The biggest question mark is undoubtedly his ability to stay on the field. If he can stay healthy for a full 16 game season and continue to grow and unlock his full potential, the Saints will no doubt be in great shape to make life hell for opposing quarterbacks all season long.
Davenport’s average rank came out at 16.7 and he was placed in the top-25 by each of our twelve writers.