2018 NFL Mock Draft: Los Angeles Rams select Donte Jackson first round

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. Defensive End. UTSA. Marcus Davenport. 24. player. 87

Frustrating doesn’t even begin to describe how the Carolina Panthers were feeling after the 2016 season since they went from defending NFC champions to watching the playoffs from home after dealing with numerous setbacks on both sides of the football. Luckily, the Panthers were able to bounce back strong this season by earning a Wild Card spot in the NFC playoff picture, and despite their early exit, the positive factor to takeaway is this team appears to be in good shape for years to come.

As much as Carolina wants to focus on improving the offense once they happen to be on the clock in the first round, defense may be the best option when taking into consideration who is going to be available at No. 24. And while there are plenty of safe bets worth looking into, a surprise pick could come from a smaller school in Marcus Davenport.

There always seems to be a risk taking a big-name player from a smaller school this early on in the draft, but the numbers alone from Davenport during his senior year at UTSA (17.5 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks) alone show why he’s drawing so much interest for a first-round selection. He still has a long way to go, but don’t be surprised to see Davenport’s stock on the rise over the next few months leading up to the draft.