Saints still figuring out Marcus Davenport's role on D

The New Orleans Saints traded next year's first-round pick for the right to draft pass rusher Marcus Davenport. Now the team needs to figure out how to use the raw, talented player.

Davenport missed the first two preseason games after undergoing thumb surgery this summer. In his first appearance during last week's tilt versus the Chargers, the 21-year-old flashed playmaking ability, earning three tackles, one for loss, and half a sack, in just 15 snaps.

Heading into the regular season, defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is still figuring out what role the rookie will earn off the bat.

"I think that's still to be determined," Allen said, via Josh Katzenstein of The Times-Picayune. "Certainly, we didn't draft him just to be a situational pass rusher. We drafted this guy to be an every-down player, so that's what we're working to do, to try to get him ready to do that. We'll continue to put him in those situations, and hopefully he'll be ready to answer the challenge."

Davenport is expected to see additional snaps in the team's final preseason game, as the Saints attempt to get the raw pass-rusher immersed in the defense.

Coming out of University of Texas at San Antonio, there were questions about how Davenport would make the transition to the NFL. In his debut, the athleticism off the edge was undeniable. Seemingly every snap, Davenport was a half-step from a QB takedown. Working on a quicker first step and those pressures could turn into sacks. Coach Sean Payton also noted that Davenport's pad level was a tad high -- something scouts noticed about his college tape.

The Saints will continue to work with their first-round pick hoping he blossoms into the perfect tandem for underrated game-wrecker Cameron Jordan on a Super Bowl-caliber roster.

"It was good to see him have some plays in the game," Allen said of Davenport. "I thought he did a good job of rushing the passer at times. I think he's still got to improve his in-line run technique and in-line run fundamentals, but you certainly saw a lot of the things that we saw on tape in college, which got you excited about him."