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What does Khalil Davis bring to the Steelers depth chart?

The Steelers brought in Carlos Davis’s brother, but does he offer anything on the field?

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Training Camp Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Lots of coaches talk about their football team being family, but few coaches actively work to make it happen. The Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin does. Terrell and Trey Edmunds, T.J. and Derek Watt, and now Carlos and Khalil Davis.

The twins played together at Nebraska, Khalil was drafted in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carlos Davis in the seventh by the Steelers. Stuck behind a deep, talented, veteran heavy defensive line in Tampa Bay, Davis only saw time in two games before he was waived and claimed by the Indianapolis Colts. Davis saw even fewer snaps for the Colts before he was released and acquired by the Steelers.

Both Carlos and Khalil Davis are high end athletes for interior defensive lineman, and with the Steelers record of developing later round picks into contributors on the defensive line, it’s worth taking a look at Khalil Davis to see what he has to offer the Steelers right now, and what areas he still needs to grow in.

With so few snaps played in his other appearances, I’m going to focus on the game he played the most, Week 12 of 2020, facing the Kansas City Chiefs.

Khalil Davis (#94) is the defensive tackle to the top of the screen (second from top on the line)

Davis shows pretty good explosion off the snap, and quick penetration is one of the traits he showed in college, but his balance and control aren’t great, and of course having someone tackle your legs doesn’t help much either. This isn’t an uncommon sight in his play though.

Khalil Davis (#94) is the defensive tackle to the top of the screen

This looks like an inside stunt foiled by the extra offensive lineman, but I like Davis’ initial contact with the blocking, and he does a good job working to his left after contact, but again, you want to see a better job with his balance.

Khalil Davis (#94) is the defensive tackle to the top of the screen

While Davis struggles with balance attacking up the middle into multiple defenders, his athleticism makes him a tough one to block on these outside rushes. Davis gets a hit on Patrick Mahomes on this play for his effort.

Khalil Davis (#94) is the defensive tackle to the top of the screen

Same rush, later in the game, and this time Mahomes tucks the ball and runs away from Davis, and into one of his two sacks on the day.

Khalil Davis (#94) is the defensive tackle to the top of the screen

While Davis provides some threat on outside rushes from DT, he shows here he doesn’t have a good counter move when his athleticism doesn’t give him a mismatch win against a guard. He tries a spin move, but doesn’t have enough of his blocker to pull it off, and he ends up looking silly.

Khalil Davis (#94) is the defensive tackle to the top of the screen

This is my favorite snap of his I’ve seen. Davis contains the pocket here, denying Mahomes an inside run, then getting outside to deny that avenue of escape as well.

As a pass rusher, Khalil Davis shows some real promise, with a few decent, albeit raw, rush moves and at least the thought process and athleticism to add counter moves to his toolkit. He shows the awareness to be useful in contain rushes and his skillset looks like one that could work well in the stunts Keith Butler runs with the defensive line.

A better pass rusher than Isaiah Buggs or Isaiahh Loudermilk are right now, we need to look at his play against the run to see if he’s a guy that could take depth snaps right away.

Khalil Davis (#94) is the defensive tackle to the top of the screen

We see Davis falling through the line again here, and if this wasn’t a designed cutback run, it might have made a positive impact. Even on the ground a defender can be in the way and slow up a run, but it is always better to be on your feet.

Khalil Davis (#94) is the defensive tackle to the bottom of the screen

This double team bullies Davis and puts him six yards beyond the line of scrimmage. fortunately his teammates made the play, but you don’t want to get bullied like this.

Khalil Davis (#94) is the defensive tackle to the top of the screen

This isn’t a double team, Davis gets driven sideways and out of the play anyway. He shows a similar problem to what his brother Carlos showed in college, getting too high too often. Carlos Davis has gotten much better at keeping lower since joining the Steelers, his brother will need to work on it also.

But it isn’t all bad.

Khalil Davis (#94) is the defensive tackle to the top of the screen

Khalil Davis has a good motor and shows consistent effort. Here he loses to the block initially but recovers, sheds his blocker and makes a tackle to hold this run to a minimal gain.

Khalil Davis shows his athleticism and his size is obvious on film, but there is a lot for him to improve in his game. Carlos Davis made huge strides in his first year on the Steelers, and it is possible we could see similar growth from his brother. I could see Khalil Davis being called up to the active roster this season. He wouldn’t be a drop off from our current bottom of the depth chart, just a pass-rush focused one. I suspect he’ll be sitting on the practice squad the rest of the season if he isn’t needed, and I’m more interested to see if the Steelers keep him around for a full offseason, and what coach Karl Dunbar can do with him if Khalil Davis does stick around.