Don’t sleep on Marcus Davenport

NCAA Football, NFL Draft

Marcus Davenport may not be a household name but here’s why he’s going to be one of the first defenders picked in the 2018 NFL Draft.

I admit I didn’t watch a lot of Texas-San Antonio games the last few years. Heading into the season, I profile each conference to look at the players I’ll need to keep an eye on for the year and who has a future at the next level in the NFL.

When I looked at UTSA, I saw Marcus Davenport, a 6-6, 265-pound edge rusher who had 67 tackles, 10 for loss and 6.5 sacks as a junior in 2016. With that size and production, I knew Davenport would be on the NFL radar. One year later, Davenport has put himself in position to be among the first defensive players selected when the first round begins on Thursday, April 26.

After living in the backfield of opposing teams as a senior with 17.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks and standing out at the Senior Bowl and combine, Davenport has gone from deep sleeper to certified stud.

Below, you can find my thoughts on the type of player Davenport will be in the NFL, where he excels and what he needs to continue working and where he projects to hear his name called.

Marcus Davenport, Edge, Texas-San Antonio

Marcus Davenport had a strong final two seasons in college with 15 sacks as a stand-up rusher but it was at the Senior Bowl that pushed him into the first round conversation.

Davenport has prototypical size for a defensive end at 6-6 and 265 pounds but he has a frame that can stand to see him add another 15 pounds of muscle without sacrificing his speed or agility.

He’s able to use his hands well and delivers a good hit when he has a running start. He’s much more of a prospect with untapped potential than proven production, but defensive line coaches will be excited when they get to work with him up close.

He needs to work on being consistent, which his coaches will help, otherwise, he’ll be a situational pass rusher.

Davenport is experienced as a stand-up rusher but teams will view him as a 4-3 end with his hand in the dirt. Like most players his size, he struggles with his pad level that can wash him out in the run game when he gets too high. Lacks the fluidity in his hips to change directions and cover tight ends in space

The talent is there but it may take a year or two for Davenport to grow into his body. As a rookie, he should be a third-down specialist but has the potential to grow into a starting end with 8-plus sack potential at his peak.

Draft Projection: Top 10-20

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