Cleveland Browns Draft Profile: Texas-San Antonio DE Marcus Davenport
By Bucky Daws
The strategy of pairing Myles Garrett with a top pass rushing prospect could give the Cleveland Browns one of the best young duos in the NFL. Could University of Texas-San Antonio defensive end Marcus Davenport be an option?
After a record-setting career at UTSA, Marcus Davenport is likely to hear his name called in the first-round of the 2018 NFL Draft this month. While he doesn’t come from a strong conference, Davenport has the look of a NFL pass rusher. In addition to standing at 6-foot-6 and weighing 264-pounds, he also has long arms and big hands.
Davenport is UTSA’s all-time leader in tackles for loss, sacks, and quarterback hurries. During his senior year, he also set school records for tackles for loss, sacks, and quarterback hurries in a single season. Moreover, he received first team all-conference honors and was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in 2017.
While he is not an option with the first or fourth pick, there is the possibility of trading back. If this is the case, Davenport is a possible option for John Dorsey and the Cleveland Browns.
As previously mentioned, Davenport’s physical tools are prototypical for an edge rusher. He has a frame that can add weight, gaining 30 pounds from his sophomore to senior seasons at UTSA. In addition to his build, his performance at the combine proved he is a great athlete.
As a pass rusher, Davenport is able to use his length as an advantage. He does a great job of getting leverage against tackles, and uses that length to work to the edge as a pass rusher.
When defending the run, Davenport showcases good quickness in lateral slides when close to the line of scrimmage. When he gets arm extension, he is also able to set the edge. Additionally, Davenport is an aggressive, physical player at the point of attack.
Some of Davenport’s weaknesses are possibly a product of playing inferior competition. Most glaringly, his pad level is too high the majority of the time. At UTSA, Davenport could get away with this because of his elite athleticism. If he does not improve on that at the next level, he is going to struggle.
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Davenport also does not accelerate quickly, and sometimes is slow getting off the ball. Additionally, his instincts are below average on many occasions, especially when play action is ran.
Although Davenport has both the physical tools and stats to show that he is a great pass rusher, there is definitely room for improvement. He does use his hands well when performing his initial move on tackles, but has yet to develop a counter-move if beaten on his first attempt.
As previously mentioned, these weaknesses could largely be due to the competition Davenport faced in college. With his physical ability, combined with the lack of talent in Conference USA, Davenport did not need much technique to dominate.
There is no doubt that Marcus Davenport has the physical tools to be a force in the NFL. While there are many things to like about his game, he is very raw as a football player. If put in the right situation with the proper coaching, he will become great over time. After playing teams like Texas State in 2017, he will definitely need time to adjust to the speed of the NFL game.
Although he is not worthy of a top-five pick, and will not be there by the second round, there are two scenarios in which Davenport could be an option for Cleveland. The first is if the Browns move back from the No. 4 pick to later in the first round, and the second is a possible trade back up for a third pick in the first round.
If either of these scenarios play out, expect Davenport to be in play for John Dorsey and the Browns. Pass rusher was mentioned by Dorsey as being one of the most important positions on the team, and Davenport has tremendous upside.
Next: A Case Against Saquon Barkley
The potential of a Myles Garrett-Davenport duo could quickly give Cleveland’s defense a true identity.