Since the draft, one player we’ve barely talked about is 7th rounder Carlos Davis. And that makes sense. Seventh rounders rarely come with much fanfare and Davis is no exception. For a Pittsburgh Steelers’ team that already seems to have its six defensive linemen for the 53 prior to his selection, it feels at best, he’ll make the practice squad.
He’ll be working against some history too. Being fair to him, this is largely correlation without causation, but the recent trend of 7th round picks have begun their careers somewhere other than the 53 man roster.
Here’s a look at their past seven 7th round picks.
2019 – Derwin Gray
2018 – Joshua Frazier
2017 – Keion Adams
2016 – Tyler Matakevich
2015 – Gerod Holliman
2014 – Rob Blanchflower
2013 – Nick Williams
Only Matakevich had a successful, or really any type of, career in Pittsburgh. He’s also the only one to make the 53 man roster as a rookie. Gray spent all of last season on the practice squad, Frazier and Holliman were cut outright, while Adams, Blanchflower, and Williams went to IR. It’s worth pointing out Williams has carved out an NFL career and signed a two-year deal with Detroit this offseason.
But for Pittsburgh, the history isn’t strong. Especially for defensive linemen. Frazier and Williams never played a down for the Steelers and Davis’ path is looking tough to begin with. It’s been years since the team initially carried seven defensive linemen on its 53 man roster and there’s six who’ve probably sewn up spots: Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Daniel McCullers, Chris Wormley, Tyson Alualu, and Isaiah Buggs. Of that group, Buggs may be the most at-risk to lose his spot but it’s difficult seeing Davis getting the nod over him.
Davis’ best chance is to show enough in camp to be signed to the practice squad and potentially floating on-and-off the 53 with the two “extra” spots each team gets each week. To do that, he’ll have to show a more consistent pad level, some versatility, and production in the preseason.