The New Orleans Saints made a splash to move up in the 1st Round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
The #Saints give up No. 27, No. 147 and next year’s first-rounder to come up to No. 14.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 27, 2018
With the 14th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints selected Marcus Davenport, Defensive End, UTSA.
CBS named the Davenport the best Saints pick of the draft:
Here’s the thing: It may have made more sense in the long term to trade up for a quarterback -- Drew Brees is 39, after all -- but if the Saints think they can win the Super Bowl next season (and they can), there’s nothing wrong with moving up for a pass rusher. No one’s complaining if New Orleans wins it all but did it without Lamar Jackson sitting on the bench behind Brees.
But NFL.com disagrees. They believe the Saints made a better pick with UCF WR Tre’Quan Smith on Day 2, grading that pick with an A. They gave the Davenport pick a C-.
The Saints jumped up the board to get their man. Davenport is a talented player, but trading a 2019 first-round pick and a 2018 fifth-round pick to go get a raw pass rusher was a very heavy price. Alvin Kamara was acquired last April for a second-round pick this year, and after one year that seems like a great move. The Saints found depth at receiver with Smith, who presents a blend of toughness and speed. He should fit into the rotation this year and earn more playing time as his career progresses.
Sports Illustrated splits the difference and gives the Davenport pick a B:
Andy Benoit’s grade: B
When the Saints traded the No. 27 pick and next year’s first-rounder to move up, many thought they’d take Drew Brees’s successor, Lamar Jackson. But Marcus Davenport’s name was announced. Davenport provides the explosive edge-rushing that was missing opposite All-Pro Cameron Jordan. While the trade seemed like an awfully steep price to pay, the relief of the Saints doing the right thing and building on their improving—but still far from perfect—defense inflates this grade.
Scouting Report: Built like a power forward, UTSA’s Davenport dominated hapless Conference USA opponents with a blend of size and explosiveness rarely seen outside the Power Five conferences. After getting by purely on athletic gifts during his college career, Davenport has some work to do before he’ll be able to dominate similarly against NFL-caliber athletes. But his ceiling is enormous, and he’s even more intriguing in a draft that’s light on edge players (and in a year when there are few to be had on the free-agent market).
It’s hard to recall a pick that’s been had groups of fans and the media firmly against, firmly in favor of, and others just lukewarm to the selection.
We’ll see who ends up feeling vindicated after the 2018 season is over.