Marcus Davenport and Tre'Quan Smith didn't have quite the rookie seasons that the previous year's Saints draft class had.

Both Davenport and Smith showed flashes of their potential, but they didn't put together first-year seasons like the ones Marshon Lattimore, Ryan Ramczyk and Alvin Kamara had in 2017.

But now defensive end Davenport and receiver Smith are looking to be better in their second season, which officially starts Tuesday when the Saints hold the first of their organized team activities. This week's OTA's continue through Thursday, with two more three-day sessions the following two weeks.

"To be better in every way," Davenport said about his goals this season. "Really I'm just trying to be able to contribute more."

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Davenport, whom the Saints traded up in the draft to take with the No. 14 overall pick last season, recorded 13 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks in 13 games last season. He did so despite playing much of the second half of the season battling a toe injury. He had surgery shortly after the season ended.

"I'm taking it a day at a time," Davenport said. "It's been a process, but I think the recovery has been great."

His role likely will increase this season because Alex Okafor, who played defensive end opposite Cam Jordan for the majority of the snaps last season, has signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.

"I really haven't thought about that," Davenport said. "This offseason has been more focusing on myself, trying to get back. That's been pretty much it."

Davenport, speaking Monday before the Saints' Hall of Fame Celebrity Golf Classic, said he wasn't sure whether he'll participate in Tuesday's OTAs.

"It's a day-by-day process," he said. "I'm taking baby steps. The frustration has helped me a lot. Not only getting into the weight room, but in the film room. It helped me work on my craft. Setbacks lead to great comebacks."

Smith, whom the Saints took in the third round of the draft last year, is hoping to improve on his rookie season as well. He caught 28 passes for 427 yards and five touchdowns. The highlight of his season came in the Monday night game against the Washington Redskins when he caught his first career touchdown. The 62-yard scoring play also happened to be the play that made Drew Brees the NFL's all-time leader in yards passing.

Now Smith is hungry for more.

"I feel like it's very important for me to come out and (show) everybody what I'm capable of," Smith said. "Even though I had a good season in Year One, it's on to bigger and better things in Year 2. I really have to prove myself all over again and show that I'm capable of staying on this team and being a great asset."

Davenport, Smith and offensive lineman Will Clapp were the only drafted rookies from last year's class who remained with the team the entire season. The other four players the Saints drafted in 2018 (offensive lineman Rick Leonard, safety Natrell Jamerson, cornerback Kamrin Moore and running back Boston Scott) are gone.

Now it's time for another crop of rookies to begin their transition to the NFL as OTAs begin.

"It's a chance to introduce a few new things, but it's also a chance to get some of the younger players around the veterans," Sean Payton said. "Of course we have some veteran players that are new (too). You're really looking at beginning the process."

For Davenport and Smith, it's a chance to improve after having a year of NFL experience under their belt.

"I feel like I'm way further along," Smith said. "I can hit the ground running now and not just baby steps. I know what to expect, and I know how to prepare for things."

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Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.