Saints see pass rusher as a premium position like quarterback, left tackle, cornerback

Getty Images

Why did the Saints pay such a high price to draft Marcus Davenport? Because they think pass rushers are worth it.

Saints coach Sean Payton said after the Saints used both this year’s first-round draft pick and next year’s first-round draft pick to trade up and draft Davenport that pass rusher is a position, along with quarterback, left tackle and cornerback, that is so important in today’s NFL that it’s worth paying a heavy price to go up and get one.

“One of the offseason targets was a pressure player and that might come as a guy who lines up inside, it might come from a player that lines up outside,” Payton said. “But before we check that box we have to feel like he can affect the quarterback and in our league, there’s a premium on a few different positions, one of them is that, one of them is a corner. We saw the quarterbacks and the tackles. We can’t find those guys when the season is over with and we start free agency. They’re generally players you have to draft.”

Payton indicated that the Saints were trying to trade up even higher in the draft but other teams turned them down. Eventually the Packers agreed to send the 14th pick to the Saints for the 27th pick, next year’s first-round pick and also a fifth-round pick this year.

“There were just other teams on the phone. We were close with one other team,” Payton said. “A player fell for them. Oftentimes it will be just wait to see if our player is there. It is pretty normal. So without going into [who] all the other teams are, it’s not unusual.”

It actually is unusual for a team to give up two first-round picks to trade up to draft a defensive player: It hasn’t happened in 15 years. But the Saints view Davenport as no ordinary defensive player. He can get to the other team’s quarterback, which the Saints think will make him an impact player.

46 responses to “Saints see pass rusher as a premium position like quarterback, left tackle, cornerback

  1. If Davenport pans out for the Saints and Jaire Alexander OR next year’s first rounder pans out for the Packers, it’s win/win. It’s not about who “wins” a trade, it’s about getting guys you want at prices you’re willing to pay.

  2. Saints have been in media damage control mode ever since they whiffed on the draft. This is the equivalent to McCarthy talking about Kizer being s first round talent.

  3. Not the best pass rusher on the board at the time, so they could have waited…but then that could have backfired too, so let’s just wait and see if Pay-tons is a genius or a boob.

  4. I feel Davenport is a lot like Chandler Jones when he came out of Syracuse back in 2012. Jones was still developing at that point himself. He had 6 sacks as a rookie. He followed that up in 2013 with 11.5 sacks. Jones feel back down to 6 sacks in 2014 but only played in 10 games. In 2015 Jones ended the Patriots portion of his career with 12.5 sacks. The past two seasons, as a Cardinal, Jones has had 28 sacks. He appears to have developed into one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers. Davenport has many of the same physical tools. He could very well have a similar career path.

  5. QB is the only position that by itself is worth about 5-4 wins
    After that everything is by unit
    OL second most important unit
    DL particularly pass rush
    RB and WR are almost about equal because on feeds off the other
    A great secondary
    Special teams are the least important unit until Anderson misses a short FG which could send you to the SB or some idiot punts it to Desean Jackson with no time left and he runs it back for a walkoff TD

  6. A well known sports analyst for the packers once pointed out that the Pack went to a 3-4 defense to save money. It got to be they didnt want to pay our the kind of money top DE’s were commanding in the draft so the 3-4 allowed them to us like backers and pass rush wannabe’s like a Safety to save money. Thus the reason their pass rush is one of the worst in the league.
    The Vikes pass rush broke the collarbone of Rodgers last year. I rest my case. Pass rushers are darn important

  7. ajzinnecker says:
    May 7, 2018 at 8:44 am
    The Eagles proved this to be true. You put lots of pressure on the QB and you win lots of games.
    —————-
    Is this why they rank 17th in passing yards allowed and were shredded in the SB? They did win a lot of games but NOT because of their pass rush…

  8. .
    The Saints opponents in the NFC South have Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Jaimes Winston at QB. You can’t be giving these guys time or they’ll burn you.
    .

  9. remember when every team had to have a signature running back? Franco Harris, Lawrence McCutchen, Chuck Foreman, Calvin Hill, Tony Dorset Larry Csonka, Earl Campbell etc. etc. The game has changed a lot. Now with passing such a big part of offense, these pass rushers are in demand. But I bet a lot of folks could make a case for almost every position, except running back. Boy that pendulum has swung.

  10. At this time last year the “football experts” had Alvin Kamara as an “ok” player…but he ended up as ROY. Let’s hope that Payton has this guy figured out as well.

  11. Snap decisions or grades on draft day or even the weeks after are foolhardy at best.
    On the surface Green Bay looked like they did fairly well only dropping 4 spots and swapping a 3rd to get a 1st, with the later picks being somewhat negligible.

    No one’s quite sure what the Saints are getting in Davenport, and just how much he can contribute as a rookie, though it’s obvious that the kid has some raw pass rushing skills.
    Skills that are somewhat invaluable in this league.

    I wasn’t happy with the trade initially because I would have loved to see Tremaine Edmunds or Derwin James in a Packers uniform.
    I thought they both could be immediate difference makers in our revamped defensive scheme.
    Still not completely sold on Alexander or his stature, though I’d love to be proven wrong.

    And next year’s garnered 1st rounder is a complete mystery.
    That’s what makes this trade so interesting.
    And it’s exactly why people shouldn’t be so quick to judge it.

  12. getout1 says:

    May 7, 2018 at 8:59 am

    ajzinnecker says:
    May 7, 2018 at 8:44 am
    The Eagles proved this to be true. You put lots of pressure on the QB and you win lots of games.
    —————-
    Is this why they rank 17th in passing yards allowed and were shredded in the SB? They did win a lot of games but NOT because of their pass rush…

    —————

    Agree to an degree. Their defense gave up a lot of yards in the superbowl. But that’s not really how their defense is designed. It’s designed to stop the run, and put pressure on the QB. There defensive line was the best in the NFL. While their Corners and Linebackers lacked, their amazing defensive line was a strength. This stopped the run (best in the league against he run), and was the best at getting at the QB. Doing this causes the QB to have to throw, and force them into mistakes. While they gave up a lot of yards, particularly in the Superbowl, They won their games, by pressuring the QB and taking the ball away.

    In the NFC Championship they took advantage of an outmatched Vikings Offensive Line. On one play they put pleasure on Case Keenum, and forced him to under throw, and resulted in a pick six. They had a strip sack, in that game, and also one that resulted in a Superbowl victory.

    Their defense gave up a ton of yards, yes, but their pressure on the QB made QB’s turn the ball over and force mistakes. So yes, I still think the pressure is what won them a lot of games, even thou their secondary wasn’t very good.

  13. Ernie Ernie says:
    May 7, 2018 at 8:59 am
    A well known sports analyst for the packers once pointed out that the Pack went to a 3-4 defense to save money. It got to be they didnt want to pay our the kind of money top DE’s were commanding in the draft so the 3-4 allowed them to us like backers and pass rush wannabe’s like a Safety to save money. Thus the reason their pass rush is one of the worst in the league.
    The Vikes pass rush broke the collarbone of Rodgers last year. I rest my case. Pass rushers are darn important.

    ——————————————-

    Of course, it was the Linebacker who broke Rodgers collarbone, so…..

  14. “Saints see pass rusher as a premium position like quarterback, left tackle, cornerback”
    ______________

    So New Orleans is the same as every other NFL team…gotcha! Only difference is, Saints were willing to pay a QB-worthy premium for one of those other 3 positions. Well, hell, look on the bright side Who Dat Nation…at least it ain’t Ditka trading an ENTIRE DRAFT PLUS for a singular, headcase RB!

  15. That is an understandable view but this guy is from a small school that was not successful as a program. It is still a reach. He wasn’t up against the big boys in the NCAA. Risky to say the least.

  16. QB, EDGE, LT (or blindside) and CB are your premium positions and probably in that order (One could exchange EDGE and blindside tackle). Anyone that knows football knows this.

  17. You have a lot invested in the secondary and promising young CBs. You had better get a rusher up front to help them out

    secondly they didn’t give up 2 first rounders. They traded a 5th and a first next year to draft him this year.

  18. getout1 says:
    May 7, 2018 at 8:59 am
    ajzinnecker says:
    May 7, 2018 at 8:44 am
    The Eagles proved this to be true. You put lots of pressure on the QB and you win lots of games.
    —————-
    Is this why they rank 17th in passing yards allowed and were shredded in the SB? They did win a lot of games but NOT because of their pass rush…

    ***********************
    The eagles were ahead the entire game except for a small hiccup. Brandon Graham’s strip sack was the nail in the coffin. The eagles were also ahead in most other games just Ask Bill Belichik, hence the passing yards stats are superfluous.

  19. It’s always a risk, but it’s also forward thinking…. your best chance to win without a top QB is with a good defense. Assuming he pans out, it puts NO in a better position post-Brees or with a diminished ability Brees.

  20. I remember listening to Cris Collinsworth on his talk show in Cincinnati many years back. I don’t particularly care for Collinsworth but he said something that makes real sense.

    He mentioned that a team should have a left tackle that can handle the pass rush without requiring a double-team. A team needs a WR that can demand a double-team to release the pressure on the other receivers. A team needs a pass-rusher who can demand a double-team which frees up other pass rusher. Finally, a team needs a CB who can cover a WR one-on-one which can free up the other DBs to cover the other receivers. Add a QB, who really doesn’t even need to be elite, and you have the chance to be very successful.

  21. Wait…this is news? Last I checked, every team thinks that LT and CB are “premium” positions. Either there is nothing to report here at all, or the Saints think they are being innovative when they most certainly are not.

  22. Even if the guy gets 15 sacks per year, mortgaging 2x first round picks is over paying. They want an IMMEDIATE impact pass rusher due to Drew Brees age and proximity to retirement. They’ve been thrust into ‘WIN NOW’ mode. Davenport could be the next Demarcus Ware, but it will likely take at least a year or two before generating the type of consistent pressure they need and envision out of him.
    With regard to overpaying, consider the alternatives 2x first round picks could have gotten you. They could have signed Calais Campbell last year and give up zero picks. Chandler Jones traded for one second round pick in ’16…
    2x first certainly could get you a Demarcus Lawrence out of Dallas, Ryan Kerrigan out of Washington… Maybe even Khalil Mack out of Oakland. One could debate even any of those guys may only be worth a single 1st, or a 1st and a 3rd…
    No matter how you spin it, Saints overpaid, and the move runs contrary to their win now situation. Sorry, not sorry.

  23. LMAO So just the SAINTS do huh? Wow, innovational concept. For sure the rest will follow soon.

  24. Put next years top pick into this year’s attempt at getting 1, when they could have drafted another later 1 st rd pass rusher….then drafted another one next year in the 1st round…..that would have been 2 chances at a high pass rusher instead of 1.

  25. Rate This
    factschecker says:
    May 7, 2018 at 8:56 am
    I feel Davenport is a lot like Chandler Jones when he came out of Syracuse back in 2012. Jones was still developing at that point himself. He had 6 sacks as a rookie. He followed that up in 2013 with 11.5 sacks. Jones feel back down to 6 sacks in 2014 but only played in 10 games. In 2015 Jones ended the Patriots portion of his career with 12.5 sacks. The past two seasons, as a Cardinal, Jones has had 28 sacks. He appears to have developed into one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers. Davenport has many of the same physical tools. He could very well have a similar career path
    ___________________________________________________________________

    Elite All-Pro DE/OLB Chandler Jones definitely is one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL, Chandler Jones is one of the top 3 best if not thee pass rusher in the NFL right now & is defiitely the most productive leading the NFL in sacks since 2013 & 2015, and last year Jones lead the NFL in Sacks with 17.0 sacks, over 70+QB pressures and 28.5 Tackles for loss which was by far the most in the NFL last year, the #2 ranked guy only had 21 TFL’s. In Jones first year in AZ he had 11.5 sacks n 25TFLs. Jones is an Elite extremely lethal pass rusher coming off the edge, Tackles just cannot deal with his combo of Length/Speed/Quickness and Power Jones brings.

  26. I think at first the Saints were trying to trade up for a QB, which is why originally they were trying to trade up a lot higher than 14th. When New Orleans saw Buffalo trade upto 7th for Josh Allen they were very likely trying to trade well ahead of Arizona ainto that 9th-10th overall range to draft QB Josh Rosen, who is looked at the best most NFL ready QB to come out since Andrew Luck and Sean Peyton isnt stupid, he knows how good Rosen is going to be. With Bree’s only having 1-2yrs left I think they wanted to go up n grab Rosen getting there QB of the future but couldnt find a partner who was OK with going that far back in RD-1. When all the QB’s came off the board after Arizona went up and picked Rosen, they shifted their focus to their biggest weakness, pass rusher.

  27. Crazy stupid price to pay for a guy who…A). Was NO WHERE NEAR the top guy at his position in the Draft….and B). Would probably have still been available later in the round (many had him pegged as a late 1st or early 2nd Round guy). Two #1 picks is a hell of a ransom to pay for a guy as raw as this guy is. Watch him at the Sr. Bowl….his “get off” is slow and he often looked like he had no clue what he was doing.

    Terrible move by the Saints, unless he is a consistent 10+ sack a year guy!

  28. I’m at a loss for words, as why this needs to be rationalized? Explained in detail… since when did CB and/or LT position supersede DE/Passrusher?

    QB, on offense. If you don’t have one, you don’t win. DE/ Passrusher on defense. If you don’t have it, you don’t win!

    DE’S are always picked clean in top 10. Why? Saints were 7-9 (4) straight years. Yet none of the best DL ever fell to them in draft, why?

    LT/CB can be found throughout draft. Was Ryan Ramchyk a top 10 pick or #32? Marcus Lattimore top 10 or 11?

    Why is it, all the best DL particularly DE…are gone before pick 10? Always!!!!!!!

    Julio Jones/WR was drafted #6 by Atlanta. Atlanta traded up from 27 or 26, I think…let that sink in.

  29. All you draft experts- no one will know if this was a good pick or not for probably about 3 years. In the meantime, I’ll take my chances with the organization with a ring and the group who drafted the offensive and defensive rookies of the year last year.

  30. Let me help some that don’t understand. They didn’t give up 2 1st round picks. They swapped this years 1st and gave up a 5th this year and next years 1st. Why is this so hard to understand?

  31. That’s good and fine, but why not go up to get Chubb then? Hell they probably could have gotten him for what they gave up to get Davenport.

  32. The Saints drafted the offensive and defensive rookies of the year last year.

    I’d say they’ve earned a little leeway in their draft decision making.

  33. That’s good and fine, but why not go up to get Chubb then? Hell they probably could have gotten him for what they gave up to get Davenport.
    ===================================
    Saints tried to get higher up and was talking to another team but a player fell to them. Try to pay attention.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!