3 New Orleans Saints heading into a make-or-break season in 2022

Leigh Oleszczak
New Orleans Saints (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport – Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Marcus Davenport

When it was announced that the Saints were moving up in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, some fans were anticipating Lamar Jackson to join the team since he was the lone remaining top quarterback prospect on the board at that moment.

Instead, Marcus Davenport‘s name was called and fans were pretty confused. After all, Davenport wasn’t a well-known name coming out of Texas-San Antonio and it felt like a strange pick to make there. Davenport would have been available in the second round more than likely.

As a rookie, Davenport appeared in 13 games with zero starts under his belt and notched 4.5 sacks. The next year, he improved with 6.0 sacks through 13 starts. Year three, however, saw Davenport regress, as he had just 1.5 sacks through 11 games and only made one start.

Injuries were a big problem for Davenport and it was a shock when the team opted to pick up his fifth-year option. They look like geniuses now for doing so, as the former first-round pick came to play in 2021. He recorded a career-high 9.0 sacks through 11 games and nine starts and while injuries were still a problem, the kid was dynamite throughout the season.

Now, however, Davenport has to do it again in 2022 if he wants to get paid like a premier pass rusher. The Saints were lucky their risk of picking up his fifth-year option paid off and now hopefully they’ll reap the benefits of Davenport playing in a contract year.

Another good season from Davenport should result in him getting a massive contract next offseason. A lackluster or bad season, however, could lead to him not getting that big-time deal that players work so hard for.

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