Now that the 2018 NFL Draft is complete, dynasty fantasy football decisions are on the line. As a former high school football coach and educator by trade, one of my passions include providing film-based reviews on rookie prospects and focusing on their strengths and weakness which may assist other fantasy football enthusiasts in their evaluations.
After reviewing five of his games, here’s my scouting report on former University of Texas-San Antonio Roadrunner and current New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport:
[Note: Most of these game videos are available via YouTube and Draft Breakdown]
DE Marcus Davenport, New Orleans Saints
6’6” | 265 lbs.
College: University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA)
2018 Senior Bowl, Rice, Baylor, North Texas, Marshall
One of the biggest surprises in the first round was the selection of Marcus Davenport by the Saints at No. 14 overall. They gave up the No. 27 and 147 picks as well as next year’s first-round pick for the raw technique former Roadrunner. Now, this was a huge investment for the Saints as Davenport rarely played with his hand on the ground, which he will need to do lining up at defensive end. The level of collegiate competition the defender faced does not compare to the talented offensive linemen in the NFL. In fact, it was quite noticeable at the early-week Senior Bowl practices when the young and powerful defensive end got dominated by offensive linemen that were eventually selected in later rounds of the Draft. Without the proper technique to create space at the line of scrimmage, Davenport could get swallowed up quickly at the next level making him worthless in fantasy and NFL circles alike.
Davenport gets too high out of his stance at the snap of the ball sometimes which allows blockers to get underneath him and guide the defender where they want him to go. He also takes a lot of time to get to full speed. The line of scrimmage is sometimes won with explosion alone, so the defensive end will need to improve his speed if he wants to be successful. There is some concern with his motor because the defensive end tends to jog after the line of scrimmage has been passed by the ball carrier. This should be a cause for more urgency, not less. Also, while playing mostly as an outside linebacker in college, Davenport did not drop back into pass coverage often which is what Cameron Jordan does sometimes, and the rookie may need to as well.
Despite being raw with technique, Davenport is a highly athletic and powerful man for his size. In high school, he was an outstanding sprinter, shot putter, and basketball player on top of his gridiron exploits. The former Roadrunner had 185 tackles, 21.5 sacks, eight batted down passes, and six forced fumbles in his college career. In the Senior Bowl, the defensive end had a scoop and score which shows how much of a difference maker he could be at the next level. Davenport has excellent quickness moving side to side in short spaces and does a good job setting and maintaining the edge against the run. With Jordan on the opposite side, Davenport will not be the focus of the protection scheme which may free him up to only deal with a single blocker most of the time.
He does a good job using his hands to level quality and powerful strikes on his would-be blockers which keeps blockers off his body and allows him to move up and down the line. The defensive end reads the offense well and can usually put himself in the position to thwart misdirections well. When Davenport cannot reach the quarterback, he times his jumps well to knock down passes. As a tackler, Davenport does a great job driving through the ball carrier’s body and smashing them to the ground.
The Saints certainly made a commitment to the former Roadrunner with an investment of two first-round draft picks. Davenport is a raw prospect who needs to develop pass rushing moves, instead of just relying strictly on power. Thankfully, he has Jordan to occupy the offense while the young defensive end improves his technique. Davenport is the best defensive end in this year’s rookie class but might do better with a year on fantasy taxi squads. I doubt he will be a difference maker in year one, so plan accordingly.
Thanks for reading. I will continue to generate and discuss 2018 rookie scouting reports with you so be sure to keep an eye on DTC for all of the new content. You can also follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley.