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whodatworm23

My thoughts on Saints 2018 draft class...

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Why Marcus Davenport?

”Back in 2005, I watched this kid (Demarcus Ware) from Troy play defensive end and I was fascinated by him. When we got to the Senior bowl I followed this kid to every drill. I cam away going WOW! I get the same tingle watching (Davenport’s) tape.”

“Ware was a natural edge rusher, a kid with toughness and physicality in the run game. He ended up going No. 11 to the Cowboys. Davenport could go that high in this draft. He’s got natural edge skill. He’s got physicality, toughness and a great motor. If things turn out the way I think they will, top 11 is not out of the question for Marcus Davenport.”


That was a quote from NFL networks draft guru Mike Mayock in January of this year regarding the potential of Marcus Davenport. When I did my own research on Davenport I too came away with the comp of Demarcus Ware for the young pass rusher out of UTSA. When you break down the two prospects in their college years they (Ware and Davenport) are extremely similar both in skill set and playing style. They both also have similar body styles (Davenport is just a bit bigger). Their athletic testing is almost identical and their progression throughout their college careers are very close in terms of production. Every way you look at it, Marcus Davenport appears to be the next Demarcus Ware.

So why does this matter to the Saints?

It’s no secret that for the past 3 years the Saints have been searching for a complimentary edge rusher to all pro Cam Jordan in their defensive front to no avail. Their failure has mostly been due to an inability off the franchise to find the prototype this front office was looking for… until now. The reason the comparisons to Demarcus Ware is so vital is because both HC Sean Payton and Assistant GM/Director of college scouting Jeff Ireland were in Dallas in 2005 when the Cowboys made Ware the 11th overall selection. Payton the offensive coordinator and more importantly Ireland as the newly anointed director of college and pro scouting for the Cowboys. Two of the most powerful men within the Saints organization were their first hand in Dallas in 2005, scouted Ware and heard all the same concerns with the future all pro that they were hearing about their newest selection in Davenport.

He comes from a small school, he’s raw, etc. Payton and Ireland heard it all before and they also observed the impact Ware had on that Dallas franchise during his rookie season as well. When Payton said after the selection of Davenport that he’s the prototype, I firmly believe that comment was a reference to what the Saints brass (Payton and Ireland) believe to be the ideal edge rusher and it’s easy to understand why these two men would consider Demarcus Ware their model of what the prototype looks and plays like. This is all before we even begin to get into a deeper discussion on the prospect regarding character and medical which always plays a major role in determining a prospects draft stock. From all reports, Marcus Davenport had a relatively healthy college career and is regarded as having very high character as well as being a highly intellectual and thoughtful individual. Guess who else had a very similar mental makeup coming out of college… yep, Demarcus Ware.

The bottom line is that while Sean Payton only spent one season (rookie) with Ware, it’s well known that the two have a very close relationship as Payton, Ireland and Bill Parcells (Payton’s mentor and HC in Dallas in 2005) are known to hold Ware in the highest regard both as a player and person. Knowing that it’s easy to see why the Saints would hold such a high opinion Davenport. Yes the compensation to acquire Davenport is that usually spent on quarterbacks but when you factor in the kids natural talent, skill set and upside as well as his eerily similar Comparison to a player that Payton and Ireland feel so strongly about it isn’t hard to understand why they made the move they did.

Im absolutely convinced that Payton and Ireland believe that they have just drafted the next Demarcus Ware and if they are right, if this kid develops into that type of player then the compensation given up will be moot. Especially when you consider how the game has changed over the last decade. Premium edge rushers are easily the highest commodity outside of the quarterback position in the NFL these days without question and teams have adjusted accordingly in order to acquire them. Think about it this way, think of the importance of what Drew Brees means to the Saints, now compare that to what Cam Jordan means to them. Sure Brees still has a greater impact but you must admit that Jordan is almost on par or on his level right now. Elite edge defenders are worth their weight in gold by NFL standards, it’s the NFL we’re living in and the Saints understand that. 

Speaking of Jordan, after the selection of Davenport Sean Payton was asked if it was to take pressure off his all pro defensive end, Payton’s response… “I’m not interested in taking pressure off Cam, I’m interested in finding more players like Cam”. This comment struck a cord with me for this reason. If you have followed this regime throughout there time in New Orleans when it comes to the draft they have had a tendency to put a lot of value into Senior bowl week. It was during Senior bowl week where the Saints truly fell for Jordan after watching him dominate the competition. This year, Davenport’s first practice at Senior bowl week was more meh than anything as he adjusted to the level of competition but by day two the light switched on and he was absolutely unblockable, then he goes into the game and gets a sack on future #1 pick Baker Mayfield and even scoops a fumble off a strip sack and returns it for a touchdown. Like Jordan before him, Davenport dominated Senior bowl week and I’m guessing that’s where the Saints fell in love with him just like they did with Jordan years earlier. So as Payton said, he’s looking for players like Cam… well I think he found one in Davenport.

 

Saints viewed Tre’Quan Smith as a value selection

Sean Payton said that the Saints had Smith graded as a mid-second round talent on their draft board so getting him near the end of the 3rd round represented great value. It’s not like it wasn’t a need either as Ted Gin will be 33 years old this season and isn’t long in the tooth. While Smith doesn’t possess Gin’s blazing speed, he is still plenty fast with unique burst out of breaks in routes allowing him to separate as a legit NFL deep threat. Smith also is able to work underneath routes and crossing patterns, he has rare arm length for his size making his catch radius that of a player much bigger. Combined with his vertical ability and strong hands, Smith tape shows a very good 50/50 ball catcher. All these tools Smith possesses are good enough to justify the pick but what puts it over the top is his ability and effort in the run game as a blocker. Smith truly excels in this area and his overall game really reminds me of former Saints wideout Robert Meachem.

 

There was an understanding that offensive line depth needed to be addressed.

I’ll be the first to admit that I knew very little of Saints 4th round pick Rick Leonard and my notes on him were short with a priority free agent grade. However I did acknowledge that  Leonard possessed the physical traits to develop into a potential starting right tackle in the NFL or quality swing tackle if a team was willing to develop him. With the Saints being deep at the tackle position and with Jermon Bushrod on the roster now I think the Saints saw the potential in Leonard and will look to develop his raw talent in 2018. After starting off as a defensive lineman at FSU, Leonard switched to offense two year ago and immediately earned the starting right tackle job which is pretty impressive when you think about it and shows that Leonard is a fast learner. I trust Jeff Ireland’s eye for talent even though I felt the 4th round was high for him, the Saints clearly view Leonard as a talent worth investing in. 

With their finally selection the Saints finally draft an LSU player… but that aside, they really landed a great value pick here IMO in Will Clapp. Clapp is a versatile interior prospect who is extremely smart and tough. He’s not an elite athlete or a powerful road grader but he’s a solid technician at the position who was battle tested as a 3 year starter in the SEC and has the potential to be the Saints starting center in a year or two when Max Unger is no longer part of the team. Until then, Clapp can develop into the role that former Saints and undrafted rookie Sino Kelemete was in as the Saints new swing interior lineman.  

 

Mike Westoff takes over the Saints war room in the 5th and 6th rounds.

At least that’s kinda what it felt like watching it on TV… Natrell Jamerson is a plus athlete who won the East-West Shrine game defensive MVP. He’s a player that bounced around positionally while at Wisconsin but has flashed potential with his speed and athleticism as a one year starter in 2017. Kamrin Moore is a stout very aggressive player who makes his bones as a demon on special teams. Boston Scott looks like a bowling ball at 5’6” 205 lbs but he’s got great speed and elusiveness and sort of reminds me of a poor mans Darren Sproles. All three of these prospects will have to earn their way onto the final 53 man roster via special teams and I’m sure the Saints had a vision for each one at the time of their selection. 

 


WHODAT

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Great post Worm! I feel like this was a solid draft.

I'm a little worried about the TE position but it's not really THAT bad.

Overall, I think we'll be okay and we'll all look back on this draft with a greater perspective and appreciation.

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10 hours ago, BossierWhoDat said:

Great post Worm! I feel like this was a solid draft.

I'm a little worried about the TE position but it's not really THAT bad.

Overall, I think we'll be okay and we'll all look back on this draft with a greater perspective and appreciation.

Agreed... But it all starts and ends with Davenport, however I do believe Smith will suprise people. I actually dont feel their is a big drop off from Calvin Ridley to Tre'Quan Smith to be honest. As far as the TE position, sire its a concern but im wondering if we will just bring Fleener back for another season in a reserve role.

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Very well written as usual.

I'm very skeptical about the class. They're really banking on Davenport being a star and I hope they're right. Everyone else they drafted probably won't be able to make a big impact immediately. It's going to be a few years until we really know what we have.

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On 5/2/2018 at 12:14 AM, JMG5 said:

Very well written as usual.

I'm very skeptical about the class. They're really banking on Davenport being a star and I hope they're right. Everyone else they drafted probably won't be able to make a big impact immediately. It's going to be a few years until we really know what we have.

No doubt... The Saints CLEARLY are all in on Davenport and his development is critical not only to the success of Brees final years but to the future of this franchise. By no means am I downplaying the amount given up for Davenport because it was alot but if he becomes the player they expect him to be then it will be well worth the cost.

 

Im not in the camp that 2 1st round picks can only be traded for a QB... Edge rushers are so vital to NFL teams these days. Payton was exactly right when he said after the selection that in the NFL these days their is a premium on 3 positions and its ones you typically have to draft because they rarely ever reach FA and they are QB, EDGE and CB. The Saints lucked up getting Brees im FA, they drafted Jordan in the 1st as well as Lattimore. The thing about pass rushers tho is these days you need 2-3 and as good as Jordan is hes more of a all purpose player than an elite edge rusher. The Saints are hoping Davenport provides that ability to disrupt and crash the edge in a hurry, particularly on 3rd downs. 

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Posted (edited)

If we really think about it, Brees IS our offense, and has been. There's always a sharp decline when he's out of the mix, regardless of our RB talent (which we have great RB talent now).

^^This^^ is why I'm loving what we're doing in the draft, for a few seasons now. We're building a top 5 defense! Look at what Denver did with Peyton Manning's noodle arm and a top 5 D. 
Look at what Seattle did with 1 good RB, and good serviceable QB, and a killer "Legion of Boom" D.
'85 Bears, Tampa with Rob Johnson, Ravens with Trent Dilfer etc.... the list literally goes on and on.

That's what we're seeing here, until that next piece of talent shows up to take the helm at QB.

When the time comes that we sign a wicked good QB, and have that top 5 defense... well, we all know the hardware follows. 

Edited by Mid Iowa

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6 hours ago, Mid Iowa said:

If we really think about it, Brees IS our offense, and has been. There's always a sharp decline when he's out of the mix, regardless of our RB talent (which we have great RB talent now).

^^This^^ is why I'm loving what we're doing in the draft, for a few seasons now. We're building a top 5 defense! Look at what Denver did with Peyton Manning's noodle arm and a top 5 D. 
Look at what Seattle did with 1 good RB, and good serviceable QB, and a killer "Legion of Boom" D.
'85 Bears, Tampa with Rob Johnson, Ravens with Trent Dilfer etc.... the list literally goes on and on.

That's what we're seeing here, until that next piece of talent shows up to take the helm at QB.

When the time comes that we sign a wicked good QB, and have that top 5 defense... well, we all know the hardware follows. 

This is a really good point!

Everyone is talking about trying to replace Brees. You can't replace Drew Brees. The odds of falling into a Favre to Rodgers situation is slim to none. So be prepared for life without Drew.

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