Hindsight is always 20/20, but it’s still not quite fair to judge the return of the New Orleans Saints in trading up in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft to select Marcus Davenport. Davenport is talented and athletic, but raw in terms of technique. He still has a lot of room for growth, but the Saints will be patient, giving him time to grow into the dominant edge rusher the Saints envision he could be.
Still, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Davenport - notwithstanding his injured toe in 2018 - failed to make an immediate impact last year. That’s why when SB Nation compiled their redraft of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Saints elected to pass on Davenport and instead grabbed a talented LB who instead went to the Buffalo Bills:
2018 pick: Marcus Davenport, EDGE
Re-draft pick: Tremaine Edmunds, ILB
New Orleans traded up to select Davenport, a high-ceiling project out of UTSA last spring. He showed flashes of talent as a rookie, but a win-now defensive playmaker could have been the difference* between getting screwed in the NFC title game and a spot in Super Bowl 53.
Edmunds isn’t flashy, but he had a productive rookie year in Buffalo while showing off the coverage range over the middle (12 passes defensed, two interceptions) to help the Saints get off the field on third down.
*what also could have been the difference: reviewable pass interference non-calls.
So what says you, WhoDat Nation? Would you prefer Edmunds over Davenport? As it stands now, 2017 draft pick LB Alex Anzalone looked to take a significant step forward in 2018, and Demario Davis was better than advertised. At the same time, Alex Okafor found a payday with the Kansas City Chiefs, leaving Cam Jordan as the lone defensive end opposing defenses have to respect.
Maybe the Saints would have done things differently with the roster had they grabbed Edmunds and they would have instead decided to pay up to retain Okafor, but as the team is currently constructed, give me
Two First Round Picks Marcus Davenport every day.