Marcus Davenport: On the Verge
Kyle T. Mosley
Marcus Davenport is on the verge. He's on the brink of having an outstanding year in 2020, or another offseason "waiting 'til next year" for the talented defensive end to shock the NFL.
One clear takeaway from Marcus' videoconference call with media is a sense of anxiety. The tension may stem from the frustrations of two consecutive seasons of serious injuries. In 2018, he missed time for a toe injury. Last season, it was his foot. Also, it could be from the pressure Davenport has placed upon himself.
Coming into last season, the expectations of Marcus Davenport were high after his rookie campaign. His on-the-field production was finally aligning with those expectations. The pass rusher had 6 sacks, 16 QB hits, 3 forced fumbles and 31 tackles in 13 games were proof New Orleans had a budding star opposite Cam Jordan. However, his foot injury against the 49ers with the playoffs a few games away stalled his progress. It has been two years, two injuries, and two disappointments. This season, it's many questions.
Marcus shared rehabilitation at Saints HQ with DE Cam Jordan and DT Sheldon Rankins. As the team's star defensive linemen rehabbed, Marcus' moments with Cam may have been the most important. For him and the team. Jordan listened, talked, and mentored Davenport. For some young players, those one-on-one opportunities are priceless.
One Saints reporter asked if the D-linemen created "any sort of camaraderie?" Davenport replied, "that happens with about anybody kinda that happen to be around each other for an extended amount of time."
After the Saints drafted Davenport as their #1 pick in 2018, he possesses the physical talent to play defensive end in the NFL, but something seemed to be missing. Davenport is already a smart person and player. He's an avid reader and was going to take up the guitar in the offseason. His intelligence was not in question. However, it was his instincts and injuries which have plagued Davenport.
Another reason why rehabbing with Cam was beneficial for Davenport were the challenges he gave Marcus. Of course, battling for the sacks leadership is #1, but the second was to "stop thinking." Jordan told Davenport to "Stop Thinking." He has to stop "overthinking" on the field. He should trust in himself, the weekly preparation, and his instincts in laymen's terms.
Davenport had a slight frustration while considering an evaluation of his 2019 performance. The irritation could derive from his previous injuries. As Marcus stated, "talking about different things, most of the time, I can be jabbering on, just going off on a tangent, like simplify it." Cam told him to "simply it, we brought you here for a reason..."
It may be too soon to say Davenport is on the path to greatness as one writer compared him to Houston Texans All-Pro J.J. Watt. This is a pivotal year for Davenport. Still, in Year 3, you get the feeling Marcus Davenport will evolve into a solid player and is on the verge of a great year in New Orleans.