It does not seem like that long ago that the New Orleans Saints gave up two first-rounds picks in the NFL draft in order to draft Marcus Davenport in the 2018 NFL Draft. There is no mystery in saying that Davenport has not lived up to expectations. His injury history, the constant wondering if “this year will be his year” has left fans wondering, “just when will Davenport hit his stride?”
The 2020 season was another average season for the defensive end. Except for the fact that Trey Hendrickson decided to burst onto the scene and tie for the league lead in sacks with 13.5. Is Hendrickson a one-hit wonder? That is yet to be determined, but Davenport has never reached those heights or close to it. His 2020 sack total 1.5 sacks, and his career sacks of 12 don’t even match Hendrickson’s 2020 season total. That being said, Davenport did only “start” one game in 2020 but appeared in 11. It is a far cry from what one would expect from a player who cost a franchise two first-round picks and is still young.
Truthfully, Davenport made little difference on a very good New Orleans defensive line in 2020. But, much to his benefit, it appears Hendrickson will require a contract that is a little too rich for the Saints blood this offseason. Someone will take a chance on the one-hit wonder in hopes that T-Rex will at least come close to his 2020 production.
The only player that benefits from that scenario is Davenport. New Orleans likely won’t have a ton of money to throw around this offseason, and reports suggest that safety Marcus Williams is the priority, not Hendrickson who will likely find a better deal in free agency.
All of this means one thing: Davenport will get his chance in 2021. Now, he has had his chance in 2018 and 2019, but never took full grasp of the starting position. With the distinct possibility that Hendrickson will be wearing a different jersey come Week 1 of the NFL season, Davenport will be able to make his case as the starting defensive end opposite of Cameron Jordan. This is not a task to be taken lightly, but if Davenport can display the talent that the Saints saw in him that convinced them to give up an additional first-round pick in 2018, then he may just be answer come next season.
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