5 Steelers backups that will play the most snaps during 2021
By Andrew Falce
Steelers Carlos Davis
While a long shot to make the roster last season, Carlos Davis did the seemingly impossible: he overtook Daniel McCullers as the backup nose tackle. For the majority of the first half of the season, he was inactive for the defensive line, but when Tyson Alualu missed/played through an injury during weeks 7-9, Davis got his shot. The majority of his playing time came in the week eight game against the Cowboys, and he was impressive, to say the least.
With Alualu back for this season, Davis won’t make the move to starter quite yet. That said, he should be firmly entrenched as the top backup nose tackle and could see snaps during obvious running downs to rest the aging Alualu. Considering Davis only logged 5 percent of the snaps last season, expecting him to play more isn’t exactly bold. That said, with him seemingly in from of Isaiah Buggs on the depth chart, he should be in line for 10-15 percent of the defensive snaps at least.
All of that assumes the line stays relatively healthy. If Alualu gets injured again, Davis will suddenly be thrust in as the starting nose tackle. As well, Alualu could play defensive end in a pinch, so if injuries occur there, Davis could come in and allow Alualu to play on the end more. Long-term, Davis has the potential to be a starter. That won’t happen this season but expect him to make an impact as a rotational piece on the line.