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Saints GM sees 'big things' from Marcus Davenport

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton told reporters at the Annual League Meeting that the team liked the trade that landed defensive end Marcus Davenport as the 14th overall pick of the 2018 draft.

General manager Mickey Loomis doubled down Monday during his pre-draft news conference, pointing out to reporters that the Saints believe Davenport's best is still to come.

"I think he's made progress and he had a couple health things that slowed him down a little bit," Loomis said, via the Saints' official website. "But we like Marcus and we're looking for big things from him."

The Saints signaled how much they liked Davenport last year when they shipped a 2018 first-round pick, a 2019 first-round pick and a 2018 fifth-round pick to the Green Bay Packers to move up from No. 27 to the 14th spot to select the pass rusher.

Davenport was utilized in a rotational role at the right defensive end spot with Alex Okafor, and flashed the athleticism the Saints coveted opposite of Cameron Jordan.

A toe injury, however, caused Davenport to miss three games from Weeks 9-11 and the explosion appeared to be missing down the stretch. He finished the season with 4.5 sacks and 12 quarterback hits before undergoing surgery during the offseason.

The Saints certainly need a healthy Davenport to take the next step given the draft capital they spent on him and the absence of Okafor, who signed a free-agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs in March. With Okafor gone, Davenport projects as the starter at right defensive end.

New Orleans also enters the 2019 NFL Draft without a third- and fourth-round pick given the trades last year to acquire quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and cornerback Eli Apple. For now, Loomis has a second-round pick (62nd overall) to work with, but he believes the team can add talent to the roster at that position.

"I think our view is it's a fairly deep draft and we're pretty confident that we're going to get a good player at 62," Loomis told reporters.

In the meantime, the Saints are currently on the sidelines during the first round of the draft. But the team already boasts a strong foundation on both sides of the football and comes off a 13-3 season, falling one game short of a Super Bowl berth.

Davenport will be expected to contribute to another run at the postseason in the coming season with higher expectations.

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