Marcus Davenport certainly made up for lost time on Saturday.
The massive 6-foot-6, 265-pound rookie defensive end, selected by the New Orleans Saints with the No. 14 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, made his presence felt in his first action as a pro in a 36-7 victory at the Los Angeles Chargers.
Davenport, who missed the Saints’ first two preseason games due to a groin injury, led all New Orleans defensive linemen with three tackles and also shared half a sack with David Onyemetta.
Davenport also registered a tackle for a two-yard loss on a run by Detrez Newsome. The rookie displayed terrific speed and explosiveness during his 15 snaps.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) August 26, 2018
Perhaps the most spectacular display of Davenport’s athleticism occurred early in the game when he changed direction on a dime to corral shifty Chargers wide receiver Travis Benjamin.
There was an immediate familiarity which enabled Davenport to make the right defensive decision.
“Honestly, I saw it and was like, ‘Wait, they did the same thing in practice,'” Davenport said. “I was running and was like, ‘He’s not going to get me this time.’ Then he cut up and I was like, ‘Oh no!'” Davenport said to NOLA.com. “But I was able to make the tackle, and it was cool.”
First Game ✔ pic.twitter.com/XiwlsJnra4
— Marcus Davenport (@MarcusJD84) August 26, 2018
The Saints traded away next year’s first round pick to the Green Bay Packers in order to move up and draft Davenport, the highest picked Group of Five player in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The San Antonio, Texas native, set to turn 22 on Sept, 4, won the Conference USA Player of the Year in 2017 with 55 tackles and 8.5 sacks for his hometown UTSA.
On Saturday, Davenport had some expected butterflies in pregame but those quickly faded away after kickoff.
“I was just really happy to go play with my teammates,” Davenport said to NOLA.com. “Like, actually play.”
New Orleans concludes the preseason on Thursday when they host the Los Angeles Rams at 8 p.m. (EST).
For more watch Saints Gameday with Scott Shanle, Mike Nabors and Victor Howell. Check our program schedule for more information.