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2018 NFL Draft Profile: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA

C-USA’s Defensive Player of the Year has cemented himself as a surefire first round pick.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Davenport

College: UTSA

Position: Defensive End

Height/Weight: 6’7”, 264 lbs

Combine Measurements & Results:

  • 33 & 5/8” Wingspan
  • 9 1/8” Hand Size
  • 4.58” 40 Yard Dash
  • 22 Bench Press Reps
  • 33.5” Vertical Jump
  • 124” Broad Jump
  • 7.2 second 3 cone drill
  • 4.41 second 20-yard shuttle

College Statistics: Started in 34 games from 2015-2017 , led the team in sacks as a junior and senior. Named 2017 C-USA Defensive Player of the Year and first team all-conference, named 2016 second-team all-conference. Set single-season program records as a senior with 17.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, eight quarterback hurries and finished his career as the all-time program leader in all three categories. Finished 2017 ranked 10th overall among all FBS in tackles for loss per game (1.5).

A rarity. That’s what Marcus Davenport is. He has an intriguing etiquette and modest character that draws us spectators to learn more about the man, a barbarian at the line of scrimmage. Yet the quarterback assassin moves in silence. His attitude towards his hitman craft is almost mafioso-esque. He’s a contract killer; focused on the target at hand and how to execute it, and nothing else.

Davenport carries a Shakespearian quotation inked along his upper left pectoral. It reads, “Veni Vidi Vici”. First used by Julius Caesar, the meaning of the phrase is to describe a swift, conclusive victory. Well, it doesn’t get much swifter than the fastest defensive end at the NFL Combine. Through his upperclassmen campaign, the phrase has essentially become a de-facto descriptor of his Saturday stat-line.

If you don’t already know, Davenport’s story is the classic one. Davenport was a hometown tri-sport high school all-star that spurned an out-of-state scholarship offer after visiting the local D1 campus, and was subsequently thrusted into 11 games as a true freshman. He then set every single program record possible at the position and physically transformed himself into a titan. The story of the player that arrives early and leaves late every single day. That’s Marcus Davenport, the quintessential athlete.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

PROS

Davenport’s most recognizable and dominant attribute is by far his speed and quickness. He possess both raw speed in the open field, but even more so the quickness necessary to explode into blockers. That same quickness is there laterally as well, to plug up downfield run lanes and change directions without losing ground. A big complement to that is good arm and hand placement. He’s known to throw several different arm movements in the same sequence to discombobulate offensive linemen, and uses his hands to bat down passes just as effectively.

Coaches also highly favor his tackling technique. He unloads from his hips and always wraps up, then continues driving his feet through contact. That technique stems from his speed. Another big harping point for Davenport is his ability to transform his quickness and speed into power. The combination of strength and speed mean nothing if they can’t be used together, and he’s been able to integrate both attributes naturally into his game.

CONS

Davenport’s big knock is his pad level. Scouts and coaches typically prefer as low of a pad level as possible, but Davenport is known for an standing a little too tall at the line of scrimmage. That can hurt his quickness in certain areas, especially in open-field tackling. Another con would be Davenport’s embrace of contact at the line of scrimmage. He fires into blockers and then breaks off of them more often then slipping around and avoiding contact altogether.

He’s been categorized as a one-dimensional type of rusher: bull-rush out of the two-point stance. Also, Davenport wasn’t tasked with dropping down into mid-coverage very often while playing at UTSA. That will be necessary at the next level, and his speed and wingspan should be beneficial there.

PREDICTION

Through endless promotion on NFL Network between Senior Bowl coverage and the Combine, Davenport has sent his draft appeal through the roof with both coaches and executives. The only hindrance to Davenport’s selection spot is the same hindrance that exists among all athletes that played for Group of 5 schools: has he faced enough elite level competition to translate his game to the league or is all this hype a bit fluky? Panelists seem to agree that he’s worth the first round chance, and there’s far too many NFL coaches that salivate at the chance to develop an athlete of his caliber to let him slip past the 25th pick. He’s proven to be a student of the game.

I see Green Bay taking him with #15 overall pick.

Translated from Latin, “Veni Vidi Vici” means “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Davenport’s conquest for personal development outreaches the possible demands of any coach or organization. That’s why he’s a sure bet, because he’s never lost his own bet on himself.