2018 Seahawks Mocks: Superb DE Marcus Davenport

Marcus Davenport has as much upside as any lineman in the 2018 NFL Draft. Does he make sense for the Seahawks in the first round?

This is part 1 in a series of articles we’ll post on noteworthy 2018 prospects mocked to Seattle. We’ll evaluate the prospects and look at their potential fit with the Seahawks in the draft. First up is a fascinating small-school defensive end: Marcus Davenport.

Marcus Davenport, DE | 6’7, 255 lbs | UTSA, SR | Top 15 talent

I’ve seen Davenport mocked to Seattle in two recent mock drafts, including this one by USA Today. Does his performance justify the hype? And would the Seahawks draft a defensive end that high this year? Let’s get right into it.

Davenport recorded some eye-popping stats as a senior for the University of Texas at San Antonio. He posted 55 tackles, 17.5 for loss, 8.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 4 passes defensed in 11 games. Of course, virtually all the production came in the Conference USA, where small school UTSA resides. Competition concerns (and limited tape-study) caused me to overlook him in our initial EDGE rusher rankings back in October. However, it didn’t take long to come to my senses:

I was awestruck after watching his tape mid-way through the 2017 college season. Davenport’s dominant year may have come against weak opponents, though he profiles as a legitimate top prospect. Here are my November scouting notes on him, after reviewing four games:

Scouting notes on Marcus Davenport

  • Outstanding size – 6’7” tall with vines for arms & a shredded 255 lbs frame. Could easily add more weight without diminishing his athleticism.
  • Electric athlete (watch his Texas State tape above) – rare mix of fluidity, burst, quickness, power & explosion for such a tall player.
  • Relentless pass rusher who refuses to stay blocked – blasts out of his stance with first-punch violence, and wins with an array of moves.
  • Incredibly powerful bull-rusher off his length & lower body drive. Also possesses the agility, bend & fluidity to win the edge or though gaps.
  • Splashy run defender – length & burst off the snap are huge advantages, but he’s also a disciplined edge-setter & alert backfield disruptor.
  • Still a raw player – starting with unbalanced 2-point stance. Demonstrates several hand techniques, but needs refinement & added strength.

His size, skill and game compare favorably to the 2017 version of Seahawks DE Dion Jordan. Here are some plays which highlight his unique skillset and athletic profile:

That was an example of his ability to bend, rip and fluidly run a right arc around the edge. He wins in numerous ways however, some of which are shown below. His bread and butter is a lethal speed-to-power rush utilizing his length and get-off:

The next one is phenomenal. It starts with the discipline to maintain his backside responsibility and the early recognition to beat the block. Then check out the burst to catch a player who’s a foot shorter and 55 lbs lighter, and force the massive TFL:

This last clip contains various plays which highlight his elite combination of size, athleticism and power:

Potential Seahawks interest in Marcus Davenport & alternatives at DE

Davenport has as much upside as any DE in the 2018 draft, including Bradley Chubb and Arden Key. His stock is currently skyrocketing, which should continue throughout the pre-draft process. He’ll have a great opportunity to display his talent vs. top competition at the Senior Bowl in two weeks. I’m more eager to see his combine scores than perhaps any other prospect this year. For now, he slots in as my 2nd-ranked DE behind Chubb with a firm Top-15 grade.

Unfortunately, Davenport may end up going too high for Seattle’s range in the draft, even if they stand pat at the 18th overall pick. I’ve seen other DE’s mocked to the Seahawks as well, and it makes sense on the surface. Cliff Avril’s career is possibly over (surely his Seattle tenure at least), while Michael Bennett could be traded or cut.

Other first round defensive end options include Harold Landry, Arden Key, and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. Okoronkwo would fit the old Bruce Irvin role of playing LB in 4-3 sets, then rushing off the edge in passing situations. Landry is the draft’s premier speed rusher, who may be had at a discount off an injury-riddled season. And Key is a similar prospect to Davenport, but has some well-documented off-field issues. If Seattle targets a DE on day-2 after trading down, it could be Duke Ejiofor or Josh Sweat.

Nonetheless, the Seahawks might not have a huge need on the edge this offseason. Bennett is likelier to be back than some media reports suggest, and Malik McDowell’s return would add another impact DE. Those two, Jordan, and Frank Clark would create an imposing rotation for the present and future. Defensive End would essentially cease to be a need in that case. As things stand now, DE is Seattle’s 5th-ranked roster need this offseason. A lot will depend on the status of Bennett and McDowell, but Davenport could be the type of blue-chip prospect worth drafting in almost any circumstance.

Next up, we’ll look at the prospect perhaps most commonly mocked to Seattle at this point – RB Derrius Guice.