Analysis: Saints hope Davenport can do what Takk did for ATL
With the 26th pick in the 2017 draft, the Atlanta Falcons drafted UCLA rush end Takk McKinley.
McKinley rewarded that selection with a very solid rookie year. He recorded 6 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. For a rookie defensive lineman, it was quality performance.
The Saints can hope for starters they get the same from Texas-San Antonio defensive end Marcus Davenport. It was a bold move by the Saints, one that cost New Orleans the 27th pick in the draft, a 2019 first round selection, and a 5th round selection.
Head coach Sean Payton said “pressure players”, that is defensive lineman who can rush the passer, and cornerbacks are not had in free agency. Payton said you find those players in the draft.
Thus the trade up, 13 spots for Davenport, who will play right defensive end.
The Saints improved dramatically last season when they drafted a pair of rookies of the year in cornerback Marshon Lattimore and running back Alvin Kamara.
However, their biggest improvements over the past three seasons is on the offensive and defensive lines.
On defense, the Saints have added Sheldon Rankins and Marcus Davenport. On offense, the Saints traded for center Max Unger, signed guard Larry Warford in free agency, and drafted guard/tackle Andrus Peat, and tackle Ryan Ramczyk.
Up front, on both sides of the ball, the Saints are light years ahead of where they were during three consecutive 7-9 seasons.
And, proof of it, is their ascension in the standings.