The New Orleans Saints last night traded up from the 27th overall spot to the #14 overall position with the Green Bay Packers, in exchange for their 1st Round pick in next year's 2019 NFL Draft, and a 5th Round pick (#147 overall on tomorrow's final Day 3), to select University of Texas-San Antonio defensive end / EDGE rusher Marcus Davenport.
With that in mind, here's my final grade on behalf of the Saints News Network, on this very impressive new Saints rookie:
Marcus Davenport, UTSA, EDGE, 14th overall selection
The Saints didn't sit and wait for their guy at the 27th pick, trading all the way up to 14 to snag Davenport. The 6-foot-7, 264 pound athletic "freak" was the Saints' guy through out the whole draft process, head coach Sean Payton said.
The Saints have been keying in on Davenport since the Senior Bowl and then again at the NFL combine. A pass rusher opposite Cam Jordan has been their biggest glaring need for the past couple of off-seasons, and they didn't want to miss out on this absolute beast of a man.
It was a very expensive move in the eyes of some, but it was a move that had to be done. This move shows the Saints are in "win-now" mode, and are quite serious about staying up to speed in the NFC "arms race".
Davenport as a prospect is a flat-out scary, freak athlete, and he ran a 4.58 40 yard dash (by comparison, Alvin Kamara ran a 4.56 40, which is only .02 seconds faster). He gets off the ball fast and creates power from his crazy speed.
The Saints can fit him in as a "hand in the dirt" base 4-3 end or stand up on the outside edge as a wide 9-technique, and he can even play 5 technique on passing downs. He has a full tool box of pass rush moves and if he could master 2-to-3 of them, watch out.
There's lots of questions in the minds of some about the pick, but Davenport may answer the most important question of all, which is: who is going to finally be the one player, that can help Cam Jordan and the rest of the Saints defense, become an elite unit.
The most important positions in Pro Football are quarterback, pass rusher, left tackle, and cornerback; and the Saints have all of those checked off. For the future, the Saints will now have "bookend" pass rushers with Marcus Davenport and Cam Jordan.
I really like the pick, and if the Saints hadn't have to have given up a #1 pick next year to get him (but it's still understandable since it's the "going rate" to move up in the Draft these days), I'd even give it an "A".
Nevertheless, this young man will be a star some day — and he's going to be a huge fan favorite, as well.......
FINAL GRADE FOR ROUND 1 (#14 OVERALL): B+