NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -
Trading up to select Marcus Davenport in the first round of the 2018 draft was a bold move, not only because it cost the Saints their 2019 first round pick as well, but because Davenport was still considered such a raw talent that would take development.
Two years later, we're still waiting to see him reach his full potential. But no one's as tough of a critic as Davenport himself.
“It took way too long for me to start stringing stuff together,” says Davenport. “It took way too long to start winning one on ones and actually any challenge I get. So that’s just how I feel about it. This whole offseason I have had to hold that in and try to use that because there’s a lot more I want to be able to do.”
A lot of that has to do with staying healthy. But he’s already taken significant steps toward that, not only with a lengthy rehab in the off-season, but by adding healthy weight.
“Comfortable enough to where he’s still playing with the speed we want, and yet, strong enough to handle what comes his way with relative to the run game and certain protections,” says head coach Sean Payton.
But at the end of the day, when it comes to Davenport, who has obviously physical ability, part of the solution is just playing freely. He says some of the best advice he’s gotten from all-pro defensive end Cam Jordan is to simply relax.
“We talk about a lot of different things, and most of the time, I could be jabbering on just going off on a tangent, (and he stresses to) simplify it,” says Davenport. “‘We brought you here for a reason. So just play you and then consistently just one percent better.‘”
“We’ve seen improvement in how he’s played, and not just flashes, but production,” says Payton. “With someone like him staying healthy and being out there, we’re a much better defense.”
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