Steelers DT Carlos Davis could be the odd man out in 2021

Carlos Davis #73 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Carlos Davis #73 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Steelers grabbed an athletic defensive tackle late in the 2020 NFL Draft, but Carlos Davis could prove to be the odd man out this year. 

With a small draft class year, each of the Steelers six draft choices not only ended up making the team, but they all saw playing time as rookies. After trading away their first-round pick for Minkah Fitzpatrick, most didn’t envision Pittsburgh’s 2020 rookie class contributing right away, but fans were pleasantly surprised with the production they got from these young players right away.

Headlining the class were Chase Claypool, Alex Highsmith, and Kevin Dotson, who each played pivotal roles for the teams during their rookie season. While nearly all of these players seem to be on track to land a roster spot and contribute yet again in 2021, there is one player who is now in jeopardy of losing his job: defensive tackle Carlos Davis.

Prior to the 2020 NFL Draft, most fans’ only memory of Davis was when he turned heads at the NFL Combine running a 4.82 40-yard dash at 6’2” and 313 pounds. Through his five years in college, Davis was severely lacking production – never earning more than 5.0 tackles for a loss in a single season, according to Sports Reference. However, Davis played surprisingly with just 54 snaps for the team last year – earning 6 tackles and a tackle for a loss.

Why Davis could be out of a job with Steelers

After the Steelers were able to re-sign both Tyson Alualu and Chris Wormley this offseason, I don’t think many expected them to add defensive line help in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, not only did Pittsburgh take a defensive lineman, they traded a 2022 4th round pick to move back up and grab Wisconsin’s, Isaiahh Loudermilk.

Admittedly, Loudermilk and Davis have different roles on the team. Davis is short and quick and operates as a defensive tackle, whereas Loudermilk is a tall, long-player who is much more in the mold of the 5-technique defensive end in Pittsburgh’s base 3-4 defense. Still, drafting Loudermilk means that at least one defensive lineman is going to have to go.

Henry Mondeaux dressed for 11 games for the Steelers last year, but he will likely be gone. However, with a healthy defensive line and an extra player, Pittsburgh may very well have to choose between Carlos Davis and Isaiah Buggs for the final spot on the defensive line in what appears to be a ‘two dogs, one bone’ situation. These two players could already be seen on the sidelines getting a little chippy with each other last year.

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Obviously, we always want the best players to win out. I like Carlos Davis’s athletic traits for his size, but there’s a chance he could be the odd man out in 2021.