As we near the end of our NFL draft profile series, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may look to improve a position that has been a struggle for them for years in defensive end, so with one week left let’s look into potential mid-first round intriguing prospect from the University of Texas-San Antonio defensive end Marcus Davenport.
As free agency began the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were coming off of a terrible defensive season where they were last in the league against the pass and last in total defense with an NFL worst 22 sacks, with just 8.5 (39%) of those by the defensive end position. Making the defensive end position one of the top needs for the Buccaneers, but at first there wasn’t much out there at the position for the Buccaneers to go after.
Then Vinny Curry gets released by the Super Bowl Champion Eagles and bam the Buccaneers scoop him up releasing Robert Ayers in the process, and then on March 22nd a stunning trade by GM Jason Licht as the Buccaneers acquire Jason Pierre-Paul from the Giants for a third round pick making the defensive end position still a need but maybe not the top need this off season.
Now with the draft one week away that does not mean that after these acquisitions that the Buccaneers will not look for a defensive end in the draft, but most likely Bradley Chubb will not be there at seven and they may have to trade back a bit to go for the next best defensive end. Let’s dive into a player who many “experts” believe is the next best defensive end in this years draft in University of Texas-San Antonio’s Marcus Davenport.
Marcus Davenport’s College Career
As a true freshman Davenport played in all eleven games but did not start any of them, in his sophomore season he also played in all eleven games but started all of them with 49 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks. During his junior season he played in thirteen games starting twelve and had 67 tackles with ten tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks, and as a senior he played in and started in all eleven games with 55 tackles with a crazy 17.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.
As a senior he was selected to the First Team All-Conference for Conference USA and was also named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year.
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With 34 starts in 47 games he had career totals of 185 tackles, 37.5 tackles for loss, with 21.5 sacks, eight pass breakups, and six forced fumbles.
As a member of the South Team for the Reese Senior Bowl he started getting national attention and was invited to the NFL Combine in March.
At the Combine he gained more attention as he measured in at 6’5” 264 pounds, with a 33 5/8 reach, ran a 4.58 40-yard dash with a 1.62 ten yard split, while doing twenty-two reps on the bench, had a 33.5 vertical, and a 10’4” broad jump.
At 6’5” and 264 he has good size for an NFL starting defensive end and his 4.58 speed with 1.62 ten yard split shows that he has NFL defensive end speed as well.
With his size and speed he can play in either a 4-3 or a 3-4 scheme in the NFL giving him versatility to be drafted by any team needing a defensive end/edge rusher.
With his speed he can get to the edge quickly to tackle the runner along the sideline before he can turn up field.
He’s a hard hitter but also wraps up the ball carrier and takes them down with power.
Shows good hand work to fluster offensive tackles and tight ends who attempt to block him at the line, and he uses his 80 5/8” wingspan to get them off of him so he can get to the quarterback or the ball carrier.
As a full time starter his last three seasons in college his defensive number improved each season showing that as he became more comfortable he became more productive.
Plays a little too upright at times allowing blockers to get good position on him and when they get a hold of him he had a hard time getting away.
Also had a difficult time in the open field against a shifty runner and does not accelerate very quickly.
Appears to be lost during play action and has a slight balance issue with his hard and feet not going together.
Sometimes he looks every bit of an NFL caliber defensive end and other time he looks like a very raw defensive end whose form and techniques needs work.
Even though he played upright as a defensive end all throughout college he was not asked to drop back into coverage, and possibly as a 3-4 end he may have a hard time doing that in the NFL.
Why the Buccaneers Need Marcus Davenport?
The Buccaneers need a player like defensive end Marcus Davenport because they have not had much luck with pass rushers lately, like promising Noah Spence in the mix but dealing with two shoulder surgeries in the last two seasons.
Also with the well documented history on not having a pash rusher with 10 sacks or more in the last eleven seasons, and last years’ abysmal season of 22 sacks any pass rushers can help right? Although they did address the defensive line in free agency bringing in two interior linemen (Beau Allen and Mitch Unrein) and two ends (Vinny Curry and JPP).
Even though Davenport at times is raw he does have the size and most of the skills to develop into a starting defensive end in the NFL, and the Buccaneers could definitely use an above average defensive end on their line.
Will the Buccaneers Draft Marcus Davenport?
At seven? I am going to say definitely not. With a trade back later in the first round? I am still going to say no. Into the second round? I am still going to say maybe but likely not because it all depends on what happens at seven. As we have mentioned in previous articles at seven it basically comes down to: Bradley Chubb, Saquon Barkley, and Quenton Nelson if they are gone a trade back most likely will occur.
Now with the signing of Vinny Curry and trading for JPP as mentioned defensive end is not as much of a draft priority (still priority but not top priority), but with that being said if Chubb is sitting there at seven the Buccaneers would run to the stage and hand in their card within seconds like they did last year for O.J. Howard.
Another interest note comes from Pewter Report and their April 6th “SR’s Fab 5” where Scott Reynolds writes:
"This is not a very good group of defensive ends in this year’s draft, and one player the Bucs will not be touching in the first round is UTSA’s Marcus Davenport, who did not have a great interview with the team. If he falls to the second round Tampa Bay might consider him then, but with more pressing needs in the secondary and at running back I think the team ultimately passes on him again."
With this statement it also leads me to believe that the Buccaneers do not consider defensive end a top need in this year’s draft, and that most likely they will not draft Davenport. So then with all of this information I also do not believe that they will draft Davenport unless he falls drastically.
Continue to check back each day for a daily draft profiles to see whether or not these players should be, or could be the next member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the upcoming NFL Draft.
There you have it now it’s your turn to tell me your thoughts on defensive end Marcus Davenport, and his chance of being selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the draft. Go to the comments section or tweet me directly @ND1Bucsfan and continue to read and enjoy all of The Pewter Plank draft profiles.