The New Orleans Saints pass rush is probably the most suspect unit on the entire team as the roster currently stands. With Sheldon Rankins set to miss the majority of the season recovering from a torn Achilles, David Onyemata set to serve an undefined suspension, and Alex Okafor joining the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency, there isn’t much to the pass rush group aside from Pro Bowler Cam Jordan.
Or so you think.
Enter 2018 1st Round pick Marcus Davenport.
Davenport didn’t play all of the 2018 season due to various injuries and ailments, but when he did play, he was productive - save for a few unnecessary roughing the passer penalties. Still, it wasn’t the performance most of the Who Dat Nation was hoping for considering the high price the Saints paid to trade up in the first round to pick him.
But Saints fans can hopefully keep a patient eye on 2019, as Bleacher Report has predicted Davenport the Saints 2019 breakout player of the year:
Fantasy football managers might be more interested in a potential rise from 2018 New Orleans Saints third-round pick Tre’Quan Smith than the team’s first-rounder, Marcus Davenport. But while Smith flashed at times as a rookie in a loaded offense, he’ll still take a back seat to Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara and could have to fight for reps with Ted Ginn in 2019.
That makes Davenport the better breakout candidate, especially because the No. 14 overall selection should seamlessly move into a starting role opposite the productive Cameron Jordan now that veteran Alex Okafor is gone.
The raw UTSA product managed 4.5 sacks as a rookie even though he was on the field for only 40 percent of the Saints’ defensive snaps. And health was also a factor. Davenport missed three games and was hampered in others due to a toe injury, and he suggested on Twitter after early-offseason surgery that he played through an injury that should have ended his 2018 campaign prematurely.
But he still put together a solid 30 quarterback pressures on 296 pass-rushes, according to Pro Football Focus.
Per Luke Johnson of the Times-Picayune, Saints head coach Sean Payton continues to believe that Davenport “is going to be a dominant player for us,” while general manager Mickey Loomis also added this offseason that the team is “looking for big things from him” going forward.
So are we.
So what says you, Saints fans? Do you think Davenport is ready to break out in 2019? Or do you maybe think the player that takes a big step forward is someone else? Maybe someone like Keith Kirkwood, Tre’Quan Smith, or Marcus Williams. Tell us in the comments who you think is set to break out in 2019.