Marcus Davenport

NFC South Notes: Bucs, Winston, Saints

Earlier this month, Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston dumped his agents. Apparently, he won’t have a hard time finding new representation. Winston is expected to get pitches from CAA, Athletes First (David Dunn), Joel Segal and other agents hoping to work with him, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.

Winston reportedly fired Greg Genske and Kenny Felder because the bulk of their experience is in baseball. With one year to go on his rookie deal plus a 2019 fifth-year option worth $20.9MM (guaranteed for injury only), Winston reportedly wants to go with a tried and true football agency to help negotiate his next deal. Still, the timing of his switch was suspicious as it came just moments after Winston’s reps negotiated a settlement in which he will miss the first three games of the 2018 season for his alleged sexual misconduct with an Uber driver.

Many are wondering whether Winston will have a long-term future with the Buccaneers, but the league’s top agents clearly still believe in his prospects going forward.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • The Saints gave up their 2019 first-round pick to go from No. 27 to No. 14 this year, where they picked defensive end Marcus Davenport. It was a big gamble, but coach Sean Payton tells Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com that the opportunity to add Davenport was too good to pass up. “It’s something we felt that could help our team right now,” Payton said of the trade. “And obviously there is downside and you give up some compensation and you give up some flexibility next year. But we are worried about this year, too, and our focus is on winning this year, and that was the cost to move from where we were in the first round to getting really into a different part of that round.”
  • This week, the Falcons informed Julio Jones that they will not be giving him a new deal this year.
  • Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis sounds like he wants to play beyond 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Notes: Ingram, Davenport, Koo

Running back Mark Ingram is back at Saints practice after skipping organized team activities in May, tweets Nick Underhill of the Advocate. Ingram’s presence doesn’t come as a surprise, as he indicated late last month that he’d been in attendance for mandatory minicamp. A free agent at the end of the 2018 season, Ingram will begin the campaign by serving a four-game performance-enhancing drug suspension. New Orleans figures to hand a full workload to second-year running back Alvin Kamara, although the club is scheduled to audition veteran runners Jamaal Charles and Terrance West this week.

Here’s more on the Saints:

  • Rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport will undergo thumb surgery on a minor injury, but is expected to return in time for training camp, as Underhill writes in a full piece. Davenport will wait until after minicamp to have the operation, so he’s unlikely to miss any practice sessions. The Saints sacrificed a great deal of draft capital in order to land Davenport, trading two first-round selections and a fifth-rounder for the right to move up to pick No. 14. While Davenport’s injury seems negligible, New Orleans should have enough defensive end depth if he does end up missing significant action, as Alex Okafor (recovering from his own injury), Trey Hendrickson, and George Johnson, among others, are available.
  • In addition to Charles and West, the Saints plan to work out a number of players during their minicamp, including kicker Younghoe Koo (Twitter link via Larry Holder of NOLA.com); wide receiver Kevin Snead, tight end Jack Tabb, punter Jonathan Hernandez, and offensive lineman Trevor Darling (Twitter links via Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com); and wide receiver Josh Smith (Twitter link via Underhill). Of the group, Koo is the only member with NFL experience, as he spent four games as the Chargers’ kicker in 2017 before being waived.
  • In case you missed it, the Saints were one of five teams to use a post-June 1 release designation, meaning they were able to free up $3MM in cap space on June 1 as a result of tight end Coby Fleener‘s release.

Draft Notes: 2019 QBs, Browns, Jackson

A possible dearth of quarterback talent in the 2019 draft class may have contributed the first-round aggressiveness of teams in recent years. The Bears, Chiefs, Texans, Jets, Bills and Cardinals traded up to land their hopeful quarterbacks of the future the past two drafts, and Albert Breer of SI.com notes some of the impetus behind these moves may be coming from issues teams have with the crop of passers likely set to populate 2019 big boards.

Not right now, there isn’t one (that would go in the first round as it stands),” an AFC college scouting director told Breer. “The kids at Auburn (Jarrett Stidham), Missouri (Drew Lock) and N.C. State (Ryan Finley), by the end of it, could work their way into the conversation. But on the surface, based on current performance, it’d be a no. Now, if they ascend, which they should, those three guys have a chance to get there.”

Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.com (Insider link) has both Lock (No. 16) and Oregon’s Justin Herbert (No. 18) in his early top 25 for 2019. Issues with Lock’s completion percentage (57.8 percent is the senior-to-be’s career high) and Herbert’s toughness, per Breer, are early concerns for respective first-round hopefuls. While events of recent years show it’s a good bet a quarterback will be taken in the 2019 first round, Breer compares this crop — at this early juncture — to the 2013 group that saw only E.J. Manuel chosen in Round 1 instead of other recent classes that saw the likes of Jared Goff, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston emerge as obvious down-the-line high draft choices in advance of their final college campaigns.

Here’s more on this year’s draft, courtesy of Breer:

  • Breer reports the Browns “loved both” of the Denzel Ward/Bradley Chubb duo, but the team felt the Ohio State cornerback possessed upside potential the N.C. State defensive end didn’t. Ward started just for one season but sat behind Buckeyes cornerbacks that are now in the NFL. Cleveland brass also didn’t view Chubb as a Myles Garrett– or Jadeveon Clowney-like athletic specimen. Plus, Gregg Williams said the team’s need at corner was greater than the one opposite Garrett. Also noting Ward, who went to Nordonia High School in the Cleveland area, pitched his local ties and desire to help a Browns resurgence, Breer writes the Browns did their homework on this difficult decision and did not make an impulse call on draft night.
  • If the Eagles did not trade their first-round pick to the Ravens, they were going to consider eventual Broncos wideout Courtland Sutton at No. 32, per Breer. Sutton visited the Eagles in early April. Philly has Alshon Jeffery, a player to whom Sutton’s been compared, signed long-term and has Nelson Agholor controlled through 2019. However, the defending Super Bowl champions still signed Mike Wallace and Markus Wheaton, the latter a post-draft addition.
  • Ravens brass needed to hear from John Harbaugh the coaching staff was confident the team could win with Lamar Jackson before trading up to take him, and Breer reports Harbaugh, OC Marty Morhinweg, senior offensive assistant Greg Roman and QBs coach James Urban all developed a plan for the rookie before Ozzie Newsome made the trade with the Eagles. Both Mornhinweg and Urban were in their same positions under Andy Reid on the 2010 Eagles, when Michael Vick resurfaced as a top-flight weapon after previously working intermittently in certain packages. Roman’s work adjusting the 2012 49ers’ offense for Colin Kaepernick also played a role here, Breer writes. The Ravens look to be preparing Jackson sets already.
  • The first four rookies to sign their deals all had offset language built into the contracts, Breer tweets. Da’Ron Payne, Josh Rosen, Marcus Davenport and Quenton Nelson saw their teams include offsets in their deals. Offset language provided one of the sticky points in Joey Bosa‘s 2016 holdout, and the Chargers won out. So far, teams are doing the same with their 2018 top picks.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/11/2018

Here are the rest of Friday’s draft-pick signings:

  • In addition to signing Marcus Davenport, the Saints also inked Florida State offensive tackle Rick Leonard (Round 4, pick 127), Wisconsin safety Natrell Jamerson (Round 5, pick 164), Boston College cornerback Karmin Moore (Round 6, pick 189), Louisiana Tech running back Boston Scott (Round 6, pick 201), and LSU center Will Clapp (Round 7, pick 245), The Advocate’s Nick Underhill tweets.
  • The Cardinals continued to ink their draft picks to deals, signing Fordham running back Chase Edmonds (Round 4, pick 134), cornerback Christian Campbell (Round 6, pick 182), and offensive tackle Korey Cunningham (Round 7, pick 254).
  • The Giants followed suit, signing UTEP guard Will Hernandez (Round 2, pick 34), Georgia linebacker Lorenzo Carter (Round 3, pick 66) and Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta (Round 4, pick 108).
  • The Panthers also inked cornerback Rashaan Gaulden (Round 3, pick 85) and linebacker Andre Smith (Round 7, pick 234).
  • The Bills added another signing in Weber State cornerback Taron Johnson (Round 4, pick 121).
  • The Bengals were also busy, tabbing cornerback Davontae Harris (Round 5, pick 151), defensive end Andrew Brown (Round 5, pick 158), quarterback Logan Woodside (Round 7, pick 249) and guard Rod Taylor (Round 7, pick 252).
  • The 49ers signed their fifth pick so far in the offseason, inking Kansas State defensive back D.J. Reed (Round 5, pick 142).
  • The Patriots added a slew of draft picks to the ranks, signing linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley (Round 5, pick 143), linebacker Christian Sam (Round 6, pick 178), wide receiver Braxton Berrios (Round 6, pick 210), quarterback Danny Etling (Round 7, pick 219), cornerback Keiron Crossen (Round 7, pick 243), and tight end Ryan Izzo (Round 7, pick 250).

Marcus Davenport Agrees To Saints’ Terms

A third first-rounder is on a team’s payroll on a relentless day for draft pick agreements. Marcus Davenport agreed to terms on his rookie contract with the Saints on Thursday night, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The defensive end prospect follows Da’Ron Payne and Josh Rosen in agreeing to terms today. And he’s the first member of the Saints’ draft class to sign.

Both Rosen and Davenport required trade-ups. The Saints, though, paid a far steeper price to move up to No. 14 and select the Texas-San Antonio pass rusher. New Orleans sacrificed its 2019 first-round selection to take Davenport, and he’ll now begin working with his team as a signed player.

He’s the second straight defensive end to go off the board at No. 14, with the Eagles taking Derek Barnett there in 2017. Barnett signed for four years and $12.85MM, so Davenport’s deal will come in north of that.

The 6-foot-7 edge defender finished his four-year Roadrunners career with 21.5 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss.

Saints Acquire No. 14 Pick From Packers

The Saints and Packers have pulled off a deal. New Orleans has acquired the No. 14 pick from Green Bay, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Packers will receive No. 27, No. 147, and a 2019 first-rounder.

The Saints have used their selection on UTSA defensive end Marcus Davenport. We heard earlier today that the pass rusher could end up being selected earlier than initially thought, although he was listed in the top-20 of Daniel Jeremiah’s prospect rankings. Davenport had another productive season in 2017, finishing with 55 total tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks. The rookie will provide the Saints with another talented defensive end to play alongside Cameron Jordan and Alex Okafor.

There were rumblings earlier today that the Saints had made a number of calls in an attempt to move up in the first round. It was thought that New Orleans could be targeting a potential Drew Brees replacement, but the front office apparently focused in on defense.

Instead of moving down in the draft, we had heard rumors that the Packers may instead move up. Reports indicated that the Packers were among a handful of teams “plotting a potential trade up…for a top-tier talent.” Green Bay’s targets were apparently off the board by the time they got to their selection, and they ended up bailing on the pick. The trade now gives the Packers 13 selections this weekend.

Draft Notes: Ravens, Seahawks, Saints, Browns

Let’s take a look at some assorted notes as we get ready for the start of the draft…

  • There are a number of teams currently picking in the twenties that would be interested in moving up to the teens, reports Jason La Canfora (via Twitter). Interestingly, those teams may have some suitors, as the reporter notes that the Ravens and Seahawks are among the teams interested in trading back.
  • Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland told Josh Katzenstein of The Times-Picayune that running back Saquon Barkley is the top player on their draft board (Twitter link). “He’s rare,” Ireland gushed. “He’s unique.” Of course, barring some crazy development, the Saints are unlikely to have an opportunity to select Barkley, as they’re only armed with one pick in the first two rounds. Plus, the team is already rostering several talented running backs, including Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram.
  • There could end up being a flurry of trades if the Browns select Baker Mayfield with the first-overall pick, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter video). All of the potential scenarios have seemingly stalled trade talks, although Rapoport notes that the Browns (No. 4), Broncos (No. 5), and Colts (No. 6) are among the teams who’d consider moving down. The Bills could be among the teams looking to trade into the top-six range, and the Broncos could ultimately choose to keep their pick if someone like Josh Allen falls into their lap.
  • Rapoport also notes (via Twitter) that several prospects are expected to be selected earlier than initially thought: Maryland wideout D.J. Moore, UTSA defensive end Marcus Davenport, and Louisville Jaire Alexander. Davenport and Alexander both landed in the top-20 of Daniel Jeremiah’s rankings, while Moore was listed 37th.

Draft Notes: Broncos, Davenport, Giants

If the Broncos do not see the quarterback they prefer still on the board by the time their No. 5 pick rolls around, Albert Breer of SI.com hears the team is a prime candidate to trade down. Breer mentions Quenton Nelson or Denzel Ward as names connected to the Broncos. If Denver were to move down and target one of these players, however, they could be vulnerable to another team selecting either. The Bears, who hold the eighth pick, have met with both of these prospects. Nelson would slide in as the highest-ceiling O-line prospect the Broncos have had in many years, likely being a Day 1 starter at left guard, while Ward would be thrust into the pipeline behind Chris Harris and Bradley Roby. The Broncos signed Tramaine Brock in March, but the cornerback’s deal is only for one year.

Here’s more from Denver and the latest from the draft world:

  • As for the quarterback the Broncos may be eyeing, Mike Klis of 9News writes Case Keenum‘s honeymoon would be short-lived if Baker Mayfield were still on the board at No. 5. The Broncos brass “loved” Mayfield’s playmaking ability before they proceeded to spend extensive time with him in the pre-draft process. With a dinner and official visit set up for Monday and Tuesday of next week, the Broncos will have met with Mayfield four times this offseason — coaching him at the Senior Bowl, conducing a Combine interview and sending representatives to his pro day.
  • While a report earlier this offseason pegged Josh Rosen as the Broncos’ preferred quarterback prospect, Klis writes that if the UCLA talent is still there at No. 5, that may trigger a trade-down sequence. Rosen being viewed as a player who could start early in his rookie year may not line up with the Broncos’ timeline, with the team guaranteeing Keenum $25MM, per Klis.
  • The other team that’s possibly eyeing a quarterback but isn’t certain to select one with its top-five pick, the Giants may have a bit of a divide about which one they prefer. They’ve been connected to Sam Darnold for weeks, and Breer notes Dave Gettleman is indeed high on the 20-year-old USC product. But he adds Giants coaches have expressed support for Josh Allen. While running back might not be the best investment with a No. 2 overall choice, Breer notes the Giants’ coaching staff and front office contingents are sold on Saquon Barkley. The Penn State standout visited the Giants earlier this week.
  • Marcus Davenport worked out for the 49ers recently, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports. San Francisco is doing extensive work researching the defensive end prospects in this draft. While Bradley Chubb is not expected to be on the board by the time the 49ers pick at No. 9, they spent multiple days with Arden Key this week. They also worked out Florida State defensive end Josh Sweat, with Barrows writing the 49ers “would love” to add an outside rusher and are examining several prospects closely at this spot.
  • A source close to John Dorsey informed Breer that it is looking like a Darnold-or-Allen debate for the Browns at No. 1. Said source indicated Dorsey is high on Darnold but also is intrigued by Allen’s upside. And he has a history as an exec of taking potential over production.

Draft Rumors: Allen, Rosen, Smith, OL

With Super Bowl LII three days away, the next wave of NFL players will begin to take center stage in news cycles as the Combine approaches. And no position, per usual, will be analyzed like quarterback. This year, though, there are several first-round passers expected, with a few vying for the No. 1 overall pick. Here’s the latest on the draft:

  • A source whose team has a top-five draft choice told Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller he expects Josh Allen to be drafted in the top two. This would gel with what ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. expects, having placed the Wyoming talent as Cleveland-bound. Miller has Allen as the third quarterback on his big board, behind Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen.
  • On Rosen, evaluators may be more interested in how he conducts himself during the pre-draft process. Having proven to possess an elite skill set as a prospect, the outspoken UCLA product has skeptics in the evaluation community. Multiple executives and scouts say Rosen’s style will turn off teams during interviews. “Scouts might like Rosen, but coaches won’t because he’s stubborn and cocky and he thinks he’s smarter than them,” a scout told Miller. This is far from the first time Rosen’s perceived attitude problem has landed on the NFL radar.
  • Roquan Smith may have stood out for Georgia during the Bulldogs’ best season in over a decade, but where he lands on draft boards will be up for debate. One NFC scout expressed concerns about Smith’s size. “You’re going to have to convince me he can get off blockers because he didn’t against Notre Dame or Oklahoma.” Another scout told Miller he views the early-entry linebacker as having “Ryan Shazier– or Shaq Thompson-like athleticism.” After a 137-tackle, 6.5-sack season with an SEC team, Smith figures to be an early-first-round selection.
  • Texas-San Antonio defensive end Marcus Davenport could fall into the high-ceiling/low-floor category among some evaluators. DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline notes some teams were not impressed with the smaller-school talent at the Senior Bowl.
  • Conversely, Nevada offensive lineman Austin Corbett used Senior Bowl practices to shoot up to a Day 2 selection, with Pauline writing that Corbett “dominated everybody” while lining up at center, guard or right tackle.