Pressure is going to be a part of Marcus Davenport's early career with the Saints.
New Orleans traded next year's first-round pick to move up 13 spots and take Davenport, a prime prospect at a position the Saints have been trying to fill with a difference-maker for years, adding him to a team that could be one key defensive playmaker away from a Super Bowl.
For all of those reasons, the spotlight is going to burn a little brighter on Davenport when the season begins in September, even though the rookie defensive end says he doesn't feel any added heat.
The New Orleans coaching staff has made sure that any added pressure comes from outside the building.
"From them, I've just gotten the sense that they believe in me and they want to see me grow," Davenport said. "That's why I'm here."
For the Saints, the focus is unlocking the Texas-San Antonio star's impressive physical gifts.
“I see a talented player; I see a guy that has all the qualities that you’re looking for in a right defensive end with the ability to rush the passer," defensive coordinator Dennis Allen said. "He has the size, the length and the athletic ability. Now, it’s really up to us as coaches and him as a player to help develop those athletic qualities and turn him into a good football player."
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The primary task falls to defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen.
Along with a helping hand from Brian Young, Nielsen started molding Davenport over three days of minicamp last weekend, beginning with the way he sets up at the line of scrimmage.
"He’s receiving a lot of work on his stance," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "He played in the two-point quite a bit a year ago."
Lining up with a hand on the ground, then exploding out of that position and staying low, requires excellent technique, and Allen's defense normally lines up its ends in a three-point stance.
Davenport played in a three-point stance in his first two seasons at UTSA, but that was before he packed on most of the weight he carries now.
"He’ll play in a three, and there’ll be times where we stand him up, I’m sure," Payton said. "The key is the leverage and the technique, but he’s handling it well. He’s long."
Davenport also is still adjusting to the newfound power he gained by packing on pounds, transforming his body from 215 pounds to 265 over his final two years at UTSA.
"The physicality or the strength I can apply," Davenport said. "That's something I'm still working on."
Davenport will have a tailor-made resource when he starts working with the veterans.
Cameron Jordan, the All-Pro entrenched at left defensive end, is one of the game's best power rushers, a freakishly strong athlete who has inverted the pass-rush technique most defenders use. Instead of building his moves off of speed, Jordan starts with power, then builds everything off of that.
But all of those conversations are still to come.
"I've talked to Cam a little bit, but I'm really just leaning on my coaches and the older guys that are here right now," Davenport said.
The art of pass rushing in the NFL is far more than athleticism. All-Pros like Jordan are technicians, experts who study offensive linemen and alter their attack throughout a game to counter an opponent's game plan. All of that has to be learned.
But Davenport has traits other players can't replicate.
"We felt like he had a unique skill set that allowed him to be able to rush the passer," Allen said. "He has size, length, speed, so all the qualities that you’re looking for, he has. It’s getting him out here, getting him accustomed to what we’re going to ask him to do and helping him to develop."
Living up to expectations will come later.