New Orleans traded from the 27th pick of the 2018 NFL draft to the 14th pick to draft defensive end Marcus Davenport. In doing so they gave up their 27th pick and their 147th (5th round) as well as a first round pick in the 2019 draft. So why did the Saints give up so much for Marcus Davenport?
Initially when the New Orleans traded up I thought they were after a quarterback. Drew Brees is nearing the end of his career and possibly the franchise thought this would be the time to draft their future franchise QB. In New Orleans, he would have a few years to develop under future hall of famer and eventually take the reins for the foreseeable future. The quarterback I am referring to is indeed Lamar Jackson. It was Baltimore that had this plan and not New Orleans. Instead the Saints draft Marcus Davenport, defensive end out of UTSA.
So why Davenport? Well, I suppose there are two arguments here. Firstly, the saints need a defensive end. Cameron Jordan is their star at defensive end who they drafted in 2011. He can cause disruption regularly to the opposing quarterback but teams can double team him to minimize this effect. After that, there isn’t a whole lot to brag about. Their 12th pick in the 2016 draft Sheldon Rankins has under performed. Although he looked promising during his rookie season, he has digressed in the last year. Last off season, the Saints went hunting for a defensive end to partner with Cameron Jordan and signed Alex Akofar. Akofar looked good but still not the force that New Orleans needs and will be coming off a torn achilles in 2018.
Looking at Davenport himself, it is clear that he has the size (6 foot 6 at 264 pounds). He ran a blistering 4.58s 40 yard dash at the combine. His athletic ability has never been questioned but rather his technique. He has been described as a raw talent. But he is a raw talent with the potential to be a stable player next season. With this pick, the feeling I am getting is that New Orleans feel they are ready to win a super bowl again but were lacking at the front end of their defense. With Davenport, they have another young player who can make plays on defense. So that brings s to the final talk point, the price. I am sure most will agree that if those land the Lambardi trophy in New Orleans and that 2019 first round pick becomes the 32nd pick, it is a good price. If Davenport flops and that pick decreases, it’s a bad price. Time will tell on that front. My favorite quote on the matter is from Sean Payton “appears to be a lot … but, shoot, what’s our country’s national debt?”