The Reese’s Senior Bowl kicked off this week, rounding up some of the country’s best NFL prospects and draft experts down in Mobile, Alabama. The first practice whistle blew Tuesday morning, and since then players have spent the last three days in practices and interviews with one common goal: raise my draft equity.
Well one senior has done exactly that thus far. C-USA’s Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Davenport of UTSA.
Prior to the first practice, Davenport garnered interest for his size and speed combination, drawing comparisons to the likes of Demarcus Ware. His natural instinct for getting to a quarterback is uncanny. More so, he has a deep arsenal of evasive moves to get around his blockers - impressive in itself for a college player at any level. Davenport can beat guys around the outside or cut and slip to the interior.
Many scouts weren’t entirely sold on the defensive end coming into this week, however. The question still remained if he could consistently battle with elite level offensive lineman, and whether or not he’s a liability in run defense. Many critiques against Davenport pointed to his pad level being too high and poor knee bend, but often is the case for a 6’6” end accustomed to coming out of a two-point stance. Like every other player entering the draft, he’s not complete yet.
After day one of practice, he was less than great, and the naysayers were quick to fire off the takes.
Humboldt State OT Alex Cappa blows UTSA DE Marcus Davenport off the ball on this run play (far side). Sheesh. pic.twitter.com/5qRFqi4wFH— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) January 23, 2018
The Marcus Davenport hype has jumped the shark with Top 10-15 talk. He's a great toolsy guy and a terrific dude by all accounts. I'm rooting for him; that's just too rich for my blood. He'll have a chance to rebound from a pedestrian showing tomorrow.— Kyle Crabbs (@NDTScouting) January 24, 2018
Davenport, however, is the type of athlete that knows how to motivate himself. Now I am not certain of this, but I think one of his tactics is to digest and take in his each of his negative critiques (every so often you will see him retweet one).
And then hone in and coach himself to improve on it.
Marcus Davenport has been reading all of ours tweets and is absolutely domination in team two minute. #SeniorBowl— Connor (@connorx147) January 25, 2018
A solid second and extraordinary third day saw Davenport nab back-to-back sacks, bring immense pressure, and display the full array of moves to get around blockers. He was all over the field. No, literally, they even moved him to linebacker for a few reps.
By the end of the practice Thursday, not an inkling of doubt remained.
Most UTSA analysts would tell you that Davenport is “raw”, he is clay that needs molding. But man if that ain’t the best dang clay you can find to work with, you can’t convince me what is.
Take it from the who’s who’s of the draft, they have come full circle on the pass-rush extraordinaire after just a couple of practices.
Sack by Marcus Davenport in team drills. Having a much better day.— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) January 25, 2018
Davenport is on fire.— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) January 25, 2018
Marcus Davenport — are you kidding me? I was really looking forward to seeing this guy up close during Wednesday’s first padded practice and was a little underwhelmed, but, boy, did he change my mind on Thursday. The defensive end from Texas-San Antonio is definitely raw, but he has all the tools — the power, the size — to get the job done as a pass rusher at the NFL level. I wouldn’t be surprised, if he goes into the NFL Combine and impresses, if we see Davenport being taken in the Top 10 or 15
-Indianapolis Colts Writer Andrew Walker
And so UTSA, after just seven seasons of having a football program, is on the verge of producing a first round draft pick. And to make things even sweeter, a San Antonio native, no less.
I can confirm that Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht did individually meet with UTSA DE Marcus Davenport this week at the #SeniorBowl.— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) January 26, 2018
See his interview with NFL Network: