Top 25 Saints of 2020: No. 14, Marcus Davenport
The New Orleans Saints formally announced the cancellation of their preseason games on Friday, something that we knew was coming with the recent developments of the NFL and NFLPA meetings. Sunday marks seven weeks until the start of the regular season, and we still have more questions than answers with what things are going to look like then. The state of Louisiana is still in Phase 2 for COVID-19, and getting past that will be a big step in the right direction.
We'll get training camp action this year, but it will be very different than anything we've ever seen. The Saints have a great roster of talent, and we keep looking at the top players of the new season. Here's a recap of where we're at up to this point.
- No. 25, Latavius Murray
- No. 24, Taysom Hill
- No. 23, C.J. Gardner-Johnson
- No. 22, Malcom Brown
- No. 21, Marcus Williams
- No. 20, Deonte Harris
- No. 19, Andrus Peat
- No. 18, Cesar Ruiz
- No. 17, Janoris Jenkins
- No. 16, Thomas Morstead
- No. 15, Wil Lutz
No. 14 - Marcus Davenport
In 2019, Marcus Davenport finished second on the team with six sacks, even after missing the final several games of the season. Davenport graded out as Pro Football Focus' 17th overall edge defender out of 102 players with an 84.1 grade. For perspective, his partner in crime Cam Jordan was 10th at 86.9 overall.
Against the Falcons on Thanksgiving, Davenport had a career-high three forced fumbles to go along with two sacks on Matt Ryan. He ended up leading the team with four forced fumbles on the year. He posted a career-high seven tackles against the Seahawks in Week 3, while also having a career-high four solo tackles against the Texans in the season opener. Unfortunately, Davenport's 2019 season was cut short, as he was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 11 with a foot injury.
Davenport's Outlook in 2020
There's a lot of expectations for the former first-rounder heading into the new season, and the Saints are expecting big things out of Davenport. He's been rehabbing from the foot injury, but looks to be progressing well. Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen said recently that Davenport has been busting his butt this offseason, and that he's really putting the work in to come back in the best shape that he's ever been in.
The Saints defense finished with 51 total sacks in 2019, which was the highest ever in the Sean Payton era. In fact, it was their highest output since 2001 when they had 53. The production has steadily increased since the 2016 season, and the tandem of Davenport and Jordan will be heavily relied on to continue affecting the quarterback early and often to help put the offense in positions to put points on the board.