WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT CARL DAVIS?
He's a 320-lb. tackle that doesn't look like one. Davis, who started for two years at Iowa after three seasons spent in the weight room getting ready, is a backfield terrormonster trapped in the frame of another kind of player. He's light on his feet, solid in his technique, and ready to learn. And when he's used effectively, he's a beast on the inside against the run or pass.
We'll talk about his physical attributes later, but Davis filled a key leadership role on a young Iowa defense last season. When paired with a familiar tackle (in his case, fellow soon-to-be-draftee Louis Trinca-Pasat) who can handle blockers and leave him one-on-one, Davis proved nearly unblockable at times. And given the amount of work it took just to get on the field, there's no doubting his work ethic.
WHAT DID HE DO THAT WAS SO GREAT?
The obvious thought with a defensive tackle of Davis' size is to plug him in as a 1-technique and let him swallow up blocks. Davis came alive when Iowa realized he was actually better as a disruptive 3-technique, forcing offensive lines to go out of their way to double him if they wanted. If an NFL team can use him in that way (especially as a 3-4 end, where that wingspan could be extremely useful), they're getting a damn strong football player.
HOW ARE HIS PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES?
Most guys show up at Iowa undersized and have to build themselves into NFL size. Davis was the opposite: He actually had to drop weight to get into NFL shape. It took him three years, but by the spring of his third year on campus, he was 305 pounds of legs and arms. And once he got there, he was nearly unstoppable. His wingspan is ridiculous for a player of his size, and he learned how to play low despite his height. In other words: Physically, he's there.
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PRO DAY RESULTS:
WHAT ABOUT THE BAD?
His statistical production didn't match his impact, a function in large part of Iowa's defensive system. The bigger issue might be consistency, especially against big interior linemen or double-teams. He's not a nose tackle, or a guy who can hold up on his own against interior blockers on three downs, but that's not why you take Carl Davis. You take Carl Davis to turn him loose in the opposing backfield. Just keep that in mind.
WAS THIS A GOOD DRAFT PICK?
Yeah, probably, if you use him right. It can be said for almost every player, but Davis can be extremely effective when given the proper opportunity. Don't fall victim to easy assumptions about his size, put him in the right system, and he'll produce for you just fine.