Davenport is a freak athlete compared to Detroit Lions’ Ezekiel Ansah, towering at 6-foot-5 3/4 and 264-pounds. He collected 37.5 tackles for loss and 21.5 sacks in 43 games over four years. He should do well with instruction from Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen and playing opposite Cameron Jordan.
The Advocate’s Nick Underhill put out a very timely film study of Davenport, which you can read here in full. It’s a must-read for any Saints fan. Here’s my favorite passage from his notes:
His first step and strong hands allow him to win. But there are other times when he plays too high, allowing less talented players to block him out, struggles to find a countermove or doesn’t approach a snap with a plan.
These are all things that defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen will have to work to fix. It shouldn’t be too tall of a task. The results he’s gotten from David Onyemata, who, despite having spent a year in the NFL already, entered last season as a somewhat raw player is a reason for confidence. You could see Onyemata making growth on a weekly basis. By the end of the year, he was a productive rotational player and still has untapped potential.
If Davenport takes to the coaching and continues to add to his tools, the sky is the limit. Nielsen should be able to unlock something. Taking raw players and polishing them into something more was his chief responsibility just a few years ago when he was working in the same capacity at North Carolina State, which produced the top pass rusher in this draft, Bradley Chubb. Even if he reaches something less than full potential, Davenport has enough tools to be an effective piece of the puzzle for years to come.
Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Saints gave up their 2018 first and fifth round picks (numbers 27th and 147th overall), as well as their 2019 first round pick. They still have their 2018 third round pick, as well as four picks in rounds four through seven this Saturday.
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