With Oakland Raiders left tackle Donald Penn turning 34 years old on April 27 (an early Happy Birthday wish his way), general manager Reggie McKenzie must start to look for Penn’s eventual replacement. McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio love big and nasty maulers; Julie’n Davenport fits that bill.
Davenport had a tremendous career in the Patriot League as he was named to the All-Conference team all four years and in addition as a freshman, he made the Second Team All-Conference.
Is Davenport a future member of the Raiders?
In the 2014-16 seasons he was a First Team All-Conference selection and was named a captain as a junior and senior but Davenport saved his best season for last. In 2016, Davenport was named a First Team All-American from a plethora of sources; Associated Press, STATS, Walter Camp and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).
Davenport is a mountain of a man standing 6’7″ while weighing 318 pounds with an 84″ wingspan and 36.5″ arms. If there was a blueprint for what you are looking for in terms of measurables this gentleman would be it.
More of an immovable object than an unstoppable force, unfortunately Davenport didn’t put up great numbers at the combine.
Linemen aren’t required to have blazing speed but a 5.45 40-yard dash does leave a little to be desired. In comparison Penn ran a 5.05, recent acquisition Marshall Newhouse a 4.99, incumbent starter Austin Howard a 5.4, Gabe Jackson 5.6 (t-second slowest at his 2014 combine) and center Rodney Hudson at 5.27.
A fairly large question mark for Davenport is the 18 reps he put up on the bench. While reps are not necessarily indicative of how strong someone is in bursts, most linemen put up numbers in the mid to upper 20’s and 18 reps is a bad look.
A left tackle capable of blocking out the sun with his size at 6’7″ and 318 pounds, it his athleticism with surprising agility and nimble for a person as “velocity challenged” as he is. Durability is his strongest trait as Davenport started all 44 games of his college career at Bucknell.
Should Raiders be worried about his weaknesses?
Davenport suffers from a lack of strength but that can be overcome with the proper attention from a strength and conditioning coach, as well as a commitment to the weight room.
Rawness in his technique will need to be coached and addressed as well while being lead-footed and slow leaves Davenport needing every bit of those 36.5″ arms to help him keep up with fleet-footed defenders. Also, he plays too high at times and it causes him to be pushed around the line of scrimmage.
The Raiders are very strong on the offensive line but that doesn’t prohibit McKenzie from looking to the future.
Davenport has been identified as a player of interest and has already had a workout with members of the organization meaning he’s made an impression on the team to use one of it’s official 30 private workouts prior to the draft on him.
One evaluator said to MMQB’s Emily Kaplan:
He’s a developmental pick with true left tackle upside. Lacks core strength, but love the body, length and wingspan.
Source: MMQB, http://www.rotoworld.com, walterfootball.com
With Vadal Alexander, John Feliciano, and Denver Kirkland already on the roster working with offensive line coach Mike Tice, the smart thing would be to add more depth. Davenport is a player who is lauded for his perceived upside and his prototypical size with elite wingspan.
Proper coaching and time spent improving not only his strength, but his footwork as well might turn him into a viable starter in the future. Look for him to come off of the board in rounds 3-5.