New Orleans Saints rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport has lived up to his draft billing, and is posting the best stats for a first-year player since Will Smith made his debut in 2004. Davenport is just a part-time player, for now, but he’s being opportunistic and projects well moving forward.
The Athletic’s Deuce Windham shared his findings from comparing Davenport’s rookie stats to-date against the total Cam Jordan put up back in his own rookie season. Here’s what he found:
Even though Jordan has a full season’s worth of counting stats, Davenport is right there with him. Davenport has already beaten Jordan’s totals for sacks and tackles for loss, with 11 more games to go. Jordan saw about a series’ worth more of snaps per game than what Davenport has gotten, but that could change if the Saints continue to give the rookie more playing time.
Saints DE Cam Jordan wonders how he can hit QB without getting flaggedThe most-enticing thing about Davenport’s numbers here are his pass rush production. He’s on pace for about 6.5 sacks in his rookie year, which would be the best debut in recent Saints history. You have to go all the way back to Will Smith’s 2004 entrance to find a Saints rookie who played as well.
If Davenport does meet that season average, his rookie season would place among the top five or six in Saints team history. Here’s the top six, per Pro Football Reference:
Darren Howard 2000, 11 sacks
Renaldo Turnbull 1990, 9 sacks
Will Smith 2004, 7.5 sacks
Charles Grant 2002, 7 sacks
Willie Whitehead 1999, 7 sacks
Jumpy Geathers 1984, 6 sacks
But there’s a long ways to go before Davenport can be crowned yet. The rookie is still learning his craft and, while he has made impressive progress, still has some things to figure out. He’s noticeably slow off the line and not yet comfortable playing in a three-point stance. But as we’ve seen in recent weeks, it doesn’t matter – Davenport is bigger, faster, and longer than everyone else on the field. His development is fun to watch and should continue against the Baltimore Ravens when the Saints come off their bye week.