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Tackle Julién Davenport: From Bucknell to the NFL

The Paulsboro native expects to hear his name called in the draft.

As a left tackle for Bucknell, Paulsboro native Julién Davenport did not play future NFL players most weekends. But in his first game as a freshman, he blocked a defensive end, Marist's Terrence Fede, who was drafted months later and remains in the NFL after three seasons.

Davenport might block him next year when he's selected in the NFL draft this week, and that day in freshman year was when Davenport realized he could be playing on Sundays even though Bucknell has not sent a draft pick to the NFL since 1969.

"From then on, I knew I could easily play in the NFL," Davenport said.

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At 6-foot-7 and 318 pounds with 361/2-inch arms that measured the longest in the scouting combine, Davenport's size is going to be attractive to teams looking to develop a tackle. He said the reach allows him to keep defenders off his body, engaging with them before they're able to go to a pass-rush move.

"The thing that jumps out about him is just how long he is as an offensive tackle," Eagles executive Joe Douglas said at the Senior Bowl. "You see in pass [protection], you see his ability to slide, mirror guys, use his length to ride defenders up field."

The Senior Bowl offered Davenport an opportunity to play against higher competition. He only once played against a Football Bowl Subdivision school while with Bucknell, and the Bison never reached the FCS playoffs during his four years with the team.

A former basketball standout at Paulsboro High who was all-Group 1, Davenport also received college interest as a basketball player. He wanted to play football, even attending camps at Temple, Penn State, and Maryland. He chose Bucknell early in the process and eventually started all 44 games in his career.

"I was a starter day two my freshman year in training camp, and I came in with the mentality that I want to play," Davenport said. "I knew I had the skills to play in the next level."

Davenport was a standout each season, earning second-team all-Patriot League honors as a true freshman and making first team the three years thereafter. He was an all-American in 2016 and twice a team captain. The NFL is adjustment for any player - SEC or Patriot League - but Davenport offers potential that NFL coaching can tap.

"It definitely gives some people some questions because it's the lower level of competition," Davenport said. "But I'm still a good player without going to the higher level of competition, and I know I can play."

Fourteen offensive line coaches worked out Davenport during the pre-draft process. Some even looked at him as a guard. He has had the chance to impress them with his understanding of offensive concepts. In a weak offensive line class, Davenport could go on Day 2 or early in Day 3 of the draft. NFL.com's Gil Brandt, a Cowboys executive for three decades, ranked Davenport as the No. 97 player on his board.

Davenport will watch the draft from his Paulsboro home, and he can follow Paulsboro natives such as Flipper Anderson, Kevin Ross, Isaac Redman, and Gerald Hodges to the NFL.

Whenever he's picked, he should at least hope they get the spelling of his first name correct on television. Most draft profiles have the apostrophe after the "E" in Julién, but he said it's supposed to be an accent mark over the E. That's how his grandmother wanted it.

"Hopefully, everyone will get it correct now," Davenport said.

The NFL will give him a chance to make the name well known.

zberman@phillynews.com

@ZBerm