Iowa DT Carl Davis Boosts NFL Draft Stock With Senior Bowl Showing


Iowa DT Carl Davis has a lot on the line this week at the Senior Bowl. He put up a lot of good film during his time with the Hawkeyes, but he was asked to play mostly in a two-gap system that prevented him from posting more substantial numbers (92 tackles and 3.5 sacks for his career).

But as Davis has shown this week, he has the versatility to play in any defensive system and the strong hands and explosive first step to make an immediate impact in the NFL.

“I think I’ve been doing OK,” said Davis of his performance thus far. “I’ve been learning the defense a little bit more and I’m starting to get a little more comfortable out here playing. I’m just trying to have fun out here. Honestly, football is a fun game and I enjoy it. It’s fun being out here.”

Football is especially fun when you’re playing as well as Davis, who has drawn the attention of scouts all week long.

A superb athlete who was a three-sport star in high school (also playing basketball and track & field), Davis has been a nightmare for most offensive linemen this week, especially in one-on-one situations. He has piqued the interest of nearly every team in the league, even those who run three-man fronts.

“I’ve talked to some teams that said they run 3-4’s,” he said. “I can play a five-technique or a zero, it doesn’t matter. I’m fine with wherever they want to play me at.”

Davis is taking full advantage of the opportunity to work with a pro coaching staff for the first time, learning from fiery defensive coordinator Ray Horton and defensive line coach Giff Smith, who has helped develop young studs Kyle Williams and Jurrell Casey.

In addition to the professional mentorship, Davis is cashing in on the opportunity to play against some of the top offensive linemen in the country. Not only is he holding his own, but he is consistently winning at the point of attack.

“It’s fun competing with guys and going against some of the best,” he said. “And working with an NFL coaching staff, that’s a great opportunity.”

Once Davis wraps up his week in Mobile, he will head back to Pensacola, Fla., to continue training and prepare for the NFL Combine. He will no doubt blow away teams in the interview process, as he is extremely confident and well spoken. If he posts numbers as impressive as his play here in Mobile, he has a legitimate chance to hear his name called in the first round of April’s NFL Draft.

“I’m just trying to be a better overall player so I can get in and play right away and help my team right away,” he added.

Scouting information provided by Football Insiders’ NFL Draft Expert John Owning. 

About Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo has spent more than 10 years as a team expert at, primarily covering the Chargers, Cardinals and Panthers. He has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and other venues.