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2020 NFL Draft: Scouting roundup on Steelers DT Carlos Davis

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What analysts were saying about the Steelers 7th round pick.

Maryland v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Carlos Davis was drafted with the Steelers final pick of the 2020 NFL draft, the 232nd pick of the draft. Carlos Davis played DT along with his twin brother Khalil Davis for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Here’s what was being said about Carlos Davis.


Matt Miller for Bleacher Report

The Good

Great athletic testing (4.82-second 40) for a big fella (6’2”, 313 lbs).
Fires off low and stays low to play with leverage.
A roller coaster on the interior; keeps arms and hands inside and takes you for a ride.
Keeps his eyes in the backfield while taking on blocks.
Has the strength to bring down running backs with one arm while fighting blocks.

The Bad

Lacks arm length (32”) to lock out NFL guards and tackles.
Limited agility down the line.
A touch slow out of his stance.
Limited to no pass-rushing ability; two-down player.

The Verdict

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.


Dane Brugler’s 2020 Draft Guide

The Good

Pounces out of his stance with body control
Uses a low center of gravity to maintain proper leverage at the point of attack
Shoots gaps and stays balanced through contact
Impressive chase speed for his size
Motor is constantly revving, tapping into his reserve tank when necessary.

The Bad

Functional play strength doesn’t match his weight room strength
Hands are quick, but too soft, lacking a bully element to his game
Hyper-focused on the ball and loses sight of potential roadblocks
Only one season as a starter.

The Verdict

Overall, Davis needs to develop his point of attack power and technique, but he is an ascending pass rusher and his persistence chasing the football gives him a shot to earn an NFL roster spot.


Lance Zierlein for NFL.com

The Good

Possesses NFL heft inside
Plays with some blocking scheme recognition at times
Keeps hands working inside the frame
Quick punch and lift power against plodding guards
Put favorable reps at point of attack on tape against Ohio State
Active hands to swat pass attempts when rush stalls

The Bad

Arm length falls well below desired NFL level
Struggles with short-area athletic movements
Lacks initial snap quickness
Below-average lateral range and too easily cross-faced
Plays way too tall and is frequently out-leveraged
Lack of knee bend hinders contact balance and anchor
Offers no NFL value on passing downs

The Verdict

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’s not a plus run defender and offers no value as a rusher, so finding a fit will be tough.


Kyle Crabbs for The Draft Network

The Good

His punch power is notable however, using his compact build to his advantage and uncorking heavy hands. Surprising amount of burst for his stature and he can overwhelm lightweight centers on the interior if drawing head up assignments in one on one. Will be in his element as a true nose tackle and occupying space.

The Bad

His pad level at the point of attack can be hit or miss and as a result his play as a congestion creator is intermittent. Redirection skills are modest and his lateral range moves approximately B-gap to B-gap. His ability to string out blocks is tempered down by his lack of foot speed and his ability to peel back across his momentum is significantly lagged to stay in his gap as the blocking front is stretched.

The Verdict

Carlos Davis projects as a low end interior IDL at the pro level. Davis’ pass rush pallet is too stale to ignore and his general lack of fluidity and mobility on the interior will cause problems for a team looking to find value for anyone other than a pure interior plug. Without lateral range, Davis is a sitting duck on the interior and doesn’t possess the necessary gravitational pull to warrant consideration as a starting nose tackle.


Carlos Davis lettered all 4 years at Nebraska in both track (discus) and in football. He is an athlete, and like most track and field guys, did well at the combine. there is near universal agreement that he lacks consistent fundamentals and has little in the way of lateral mobility. The descriptions here read more like a smaller version of Dan McCullers than a Javon Hargrave, but you can’t be too picky in the seventh round.