Small schools produce talent and on Day 1 of the NFL Draft be prepared to hear University of Texas at San Antonio’s Marucs Davenport’s name called. Will he be available when the Green Bay Packers are on the clock?
Since arriving on campus in 2014, Davenport has developed and improved each season.
In his final year he recorded 55 total tackles, 17.5 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, four passes defended, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
His success on the field earned him the 2017 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year award, the first player from UTSA to ever win the accolade. He was also named first-team All-Conference USA.
Davenport leaves the Roadrunners as UTSA’s career record holder for tackles for loss (38.0), sacks (22.0) and quarterback hurries (21).
The 6-foot-6 edge rusher’s stock rose after a solid performance in the 2018 Senior Bowl. He recorded a sack and scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery.
Davenport was recently invited to to the NFL Combine, where he will have an opportunity to solidify himself as a top-15 pick.
ESPN NFL Draft expert Todd McShay released his most recent mock draft and has the Packers selecting Davenport. Interestingly enough, his colleague Mel Kiper also thinks Green Bay will choose the defensive end.
They aren’t the only two who believe Davenport could land in Packers News. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller and Randy Gurzi of NFL Spin Zone think the Packers have a legitimate chance at drafting him with the number 14 pick.
“Drafting Davenport is a bet on his upside and ability to be developed, but one evaluator has already compared him to Jason Taylor in a text to me this week,” Miller said in his most recent mock draft. “If teams believe they can coach him up, Davenport will be in high demand.”
The overall consensus on Davenport seems to be that he is raw. But, his athleticism, strength and size makes him a top target for many NFL teams.
A concern regarding the prospect is the lack of competition he faced while at UTSA. He will need time to develop once he steps up against top lineman in the league.
Adding an edge rusher for the Green Bay Packers is a huge necessity. Green Bay finished 17th in the NFL in sacks last season, landing outside of the top-10 for the first time since 2011.
They also struggled as a unit to get off the field and opponents had a 47.29 third down conversion percentage against them, 28th in the NFL.
The Packers were fortunate to get the production they received from Nick Perry in 2016, but they paid him and the injury bug returned as his numbers dipped in 2017.
Veteran Clay Matthews will likely return, but it is evident he isn’t the same player he once was.
The uncertainty surrounding the veterans and even young linebackers, combined with the lack of production makes Davenport a potential fit in Green Bay.
His explosiveness and pass rush ability is exactly what the Packers need to help build a top defense in the NFL.