While the Pittsburgh Steelers did not make any trades to bring in depth along the defensive line, as was reported that they were looking into, they did add one player, signing second-year Khalil Davis to their practice squad. Davis, a sixth-round pick in 2020 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is the twin brother of the Steelers’ own Carlos Davis, drafted last year in the seventh round, who also plays on the defensive line.
The Buccaneers let Davis go at the start of October in order to add depth to the secondary, promoting Pierre Desir to the 53-man roster from the practice squad. I would imagine they hoped to re-sign Davis to their practice squad, but the Indianapolis Colts claimed him off waivers.
And three other teams, including the Steelers, also put in a waiver claim for him. Still, he only lasted a month in Indianapolis, as they again waived him once they got back Dayo Odeyingbo, who had been on the Non-Football Injury List since the start of the season. Nobody claimed him this time, but the Steelers added him to their practice squad on Tuesday. That doesn’t mean they’re any less excited about it, though.
“I know they’re very high on Khalil coming in”, defensive captain Cameron Heyward told reporters earlier today when asked about the Steelers signing Carlos’ brother. He added, “hopefully he can help out the team”, though he will first have to get off the practice squad, or at least be elevated.
In spite of the fact that he was drafted earlier, Khalil Davis has not seen much action yet in his NFL career, playing along a deep Buccaneers defensive line. He played in only two games as a rookie, logging 37 snaps, managing two tackles and two quarterback hits. He played seven snaps in one game for the Colts this year, but did not record a statistic. He was the seventh lineman for the Buccaneers and a weekly inactive before his release.
Pittsburgh is hoping that he can offer at least as much as Carlos has so far—at least during his rookie season, because the brother they’re best acquainted with has been injured most of the year and on the Reserve/Injured List since last week. That’s the only distinction they’re looking to see between the two.
“They talk the same. They act the same”, Heyward said of the twins. “Just don’t need another one on IR, I’ll say that”, he added with a laugh, before suggesting that Davis is on his way back. They placed him on the reserve list last week, so he will still have to miss two more games.
The Steelers do appreciate the depth that they have along the defensive line, but with three of their top six on the Reserve/Injured List, they can use the reinforcements, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Khalil dresses soon. If not promoted to the 53-man roster, he can still dress for two games as a practice squad elevation. But they’ll surely want to get him up to speed on the defense, first.