NFL Draft

Evaluating The Value: DT Carlos Davis

The seventh round pick is in and it fills another need this time on the defensive line.  After losing Javon Hargrave in free agency the Pittsburgh Steelers needed someone to man the middle of their defensive front.  They currently have Dan McCullers in that spot but not much behind him. The Steeler have made it a habit in recent years drafting a defensive lineman late in the draft with Isaiah Buggs (6th) in 2019, Joshua Frazier (7th) in 2018, Leterrius Walton (6th) in 2015, McCullers (6th) in 2014 and Nick Williams (7th) in 2013.

Carlos Davis from Nebraska, whose twin brother Khalil was taken a round earlier by Tampa Bay, was an 8 time letter winner in football and track. Carlos is the bigger of the two brothers measuring at 6’2” 313 pounds at the Combine. He has short arms (32 inches) and put up 27 reps in the bench press. He ran an impressive 4.82 in the 40 at his size with a good 1.68 in the ten yard split.

Davis had 125 career tackles with 16 tackles for a loss and 9.5 sacks and 8 passed defensed. In 2019, he posted 32 tackles, 17 solo, 4.5 TFL and 4 sacks with 3 passes defensed. He also participated in the East West Shrine Bowl along with his brother.

Davis joins most of other Steelers picks in not being on Daniel Jeremiah’s Top 150 or Gil Brandt’s Top 150 lists. Jeremiah did add on the broadcast that Davis is “more athlete than football player” right now.

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com gave him a 5.40 grade (Priority free agent) and had this to say, “Davis has NFL heft on the scales, but he’s short-armed and plays too straight-legged, rendering his size much less effective than it should be. He has some pop at the point of attack when he’s first with his hands, but he’s just not as quick off the snap as he needs to be. He has his share of wins against opponents when he’s playing in a phone booth, but his batting average of effectiveness plummets when he’s forced to play on the move. He’s not a plus run defender and offers no value as a rusher, so finding a fit will be tough.”

Matt Miller from Bleacher Report summarized Davis by saying, “A natural athlete, Davis never dominated at Nebraska, but he could find a home in the NFL once he isn’t asked to consistently shuffle schemes and alignments. His arrow is pointing up, and he’ll have a good chance to find his way into a defensive tackle rotation and outplay his draft stock.”

His pro comparisons were Star Lotulelei and Sheldon Day.

Overall:  This is an adequate value pick. There was a need to fill that 2 down, run stopper role on the defense and the Steelers decided to go with an athlete to try to mold rather than a more polished candidate.  It sound like he’s a better fit for a 2 gap scheme where he can just control the offensive lineman and the let the linebackers make the plays around him. Their late round picks have been somewhat serviceable so I would keep the expectations low here.

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