There are 19 days before the start of the NFL Draft, and two of the more popular picks in mock drafts at pick No. 14 are UT-San Antonio’s Marcus Davenport and Boston College’s Harold Landry. Outside of North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb, there are no pass rushers who really stick out. It has been interesting to see which every mock draft seems to prefer. Mel Kiper has mocked Davenport to Green Bay for quite some time, for example.
Davenport is a smaller school standout, coming from UT-San Antonio of Conference USA. He is an interesting prospect in the fact that no one has a sense where he’ll go. I have seen him projected in the top 10, but then also have seen him going in the mid-to-late 20s. He is a raw prospect, especially compared to Landry, who could come in and contribute immediately.
The UTSA standout was a beast, registering 21.5 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss, including 8.5 and 17.5 last season, respectively. Like most players from smaller schools, the competition Davenport plays week in and week out will be questioned. He did not exactly quiet those during Senior Bowl practices. The 6-foot 7 freak of nature did have a nice showing in the Senior Bowl, though, sacking Baker Mayfield early and then returned a fumble for a touchdown in the third quarter.
As I mentioned, Davenport was a Senior Bowl standout. According to Pro Football Focus, the UTSA defensive end had five total quarterback pressures in 25 pass-rushing snaps. In 2017, his 89.6 PFF grade was fourth among edge rushers. He added 33 defensive stops and 51 total quarterback pressures. His 15.9 pass rushing productivity ranked third among all FBS 4-3 defensive ends.
Davenport ran a great 40-time of 4.58, but one of the numbers to look at is the 3-cone drill. His 7.20 time at that drill would be great as a defensive end (even ahead of probable top 10 pick Bradley Chubb). However, when ranked against edge rushers at linebacker, he falls a bit short. For comparison, Landry and Boise State’s Leighton Vander Esch both ran a 6.88 3-cone drill.
Landry, on the other hand, is not as athletically gifted as Davenport, but has been the more productive player throughout their collegiate careers. As I mentioned above, Landry is more pro ready. However, unlike Davenport, who had a big senior season, Landry did not produce like he did as a junior. Some of that was due to injuries, however.
The Boston College standout was hampered by an injured ankle this past season, as he only had five sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. But, when fully healthy, he was a monster in 2016, sacking opposing quarterbacks 16.5 times and registering 22 tackles for loss. If you were to just look at Landry’s tape from his junior season, he may be a top 10 pick.
The folks at PFF actually rate Landry as the top edge rusher in this draft, even ahead of Bradley Chubb, the consensus No. 1 going into the draft. The ankle injury forced him to miss his team’s final five games of the season, but his 2016 season was incredible. That season, he had a 17.5 pass-rush productivity with 18 sacks and 44 hurries.
As I mentioned, he had a 6.88-second 3-cone drill. Here is a remarkable stat: here is a list of 250+ pound pass rushers drafted in the first round with sub-6.9 3-cones at combine since 2000: DeMarcus Ware, JJ Watt, David Pollack, Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa, T.J. Watt and soon-to-be Landry. Not bad company.
He was solid at run defense as well, especially as a sophomore and junior. As a sophomore, Landry had a PFF rating of 87.3, and as a junior, it was 80.2. Even with a bad ankle, he had a 79.6 run defense rating as a senior. It will all depend on if general managers throw out the 2017 season and focus on the 2016. If they do, he could go higher than expected.
Whether it is in the first or second round, it is imperative that Green Bay chooses a pass rusher high in this draft, or possibly even two. When watching the draft, look for these two to be in play at pick 14. If I were a betting man, I would say Landry is more of a Packers pick, but we’ll have to wait and see April 26.——————
Jonathon Zenk is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He is a huge Packers fan, and a graduate of The University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. You can follow Jonathon on Twitter at @jzenk42