As we’ve done in previous years, we’re taking a look at those Pittsburgh Steelers under futures contracts for the 2022 offseason. The ones who spent most if not the entire year on the practice squad and what we can expect from them during training camp (hopefully) into the regular season.
Khalil Davis/DT Nebraska – 6’1″ 308 lbs.
The Pittsburgh Steelers like to keep it all in the family. I’m not sure any team has had as many siblings on the roster in recent years. The Watts, T.J. and Derek. The Edmunds, Terrell and Trey (though the former remains a free agent). The pre-draft process has been full of speculation about Connor Heyward joining big bro Cam. But one of the underrated sibling duos on the roster is the Davis brothers. And not just brothers, but twins. After playing together at Nebraska, the two were reunited midway through last season when the Steelers signed him.
It wasn’t their first attempt, either. In early October, Pittsburgh attempted to claim him off waivers once Davis – Tampa Bay’s sixth round pick in 2020 – was given his walking papers. But the Indianapolis Colts were higher in the pecking order and nabbed him. His time there was short, released right before Halloween, and Pittsburgh wouldn’t be denied a second time around. Here, they were able to outright sign him to the practice squad, getting the benefit of no longer needing to clear a 53-man roster spot for him as they would’ve had they had been awarded the initial waiver claim.
Despite a defensive line ravaged by injury, Davis never got the call-up to the active roster, spending the rest of the season on the practice squad. Brother Carlos struggled to see the field after suffering a Week 1 knee injury and only picked up a handful of snaps, 33 of them, once he got healthy.
Just as they did growing up, the two will be competing for the last slice of pizza on the Steelers’ roster. Barring injury, it’s highly unlikely both will be kept on the 53, and even putting both on the practice squad doesn’t look favorable. If Stephon Tuitt returns, the team will have six strong linemen: Tuitt, Cam Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, Isaiahh Loudermilk, and Montravius Adams. Injuries could happen, 2021 was proof positive of that, but Davis and Davis will enter the summer on the outside looking in. Even if Tuitt decides to retire, the team could look to use one of their draft picks on the position to bolster depth.
But the focus here is on Khalil, not Carlos. We don’t know anything about his game in Pittsburgh, never getting the chance to watch him last year. He’s played 43 NFL snaps to date, most with Tampa Bay, so his overall professional lens is limited. The best thing we can rely on is our draft profile on him coming out of Nebraska, Tom Mead concluding he best fit as “a rotational backup interior defensive lineman in a 1 Gap scheme to allow him to shoot gaps, disrupt lanes and get after the ball.”
The only thing I can tell you he’s done since is show up to the Huskers’ Pro Day earlier this year alongside Carlos. You can watch their surprise appearance here. But Khalil and Carlos will have to show up on the field in a big way in camp to stick around and keep their wonder twin powers activated.