By Dan Durkin–
(CBS) As the Bears transition to their 3-4 defense, they're seeking a different size and athletic profile for their down linemen. Free agent acquisitions Ray McDonald and Jarvis Jenkins are both on one-year deals, so the need is there for younger players along the defensive line.
Today we take a look at a physically imposing prospect with huge potential but a curious lack of production in college: Iowa defensive tackle Carl Davis.
DT Carl Davis (6-foot-5, 320 pounds, 23, Iowa)
40-yard dash: 5.07
Arm: 34 5/8"
Bio: Davis arrived in Iowa City as an all-state defensive tackle recruit from Michigan. He redshirted his true freshman season in 2010.
In his redshirt freshman season in 2011, he appeared in six games, registering two assisted tackles. In 2012, he appeared in 11 games, recording eight assists, six solo solo tackles, one-and-a-half tackles for loss and a recovered fumble. He became a full-time starter in 2013, finishing with 42 tackles, four tackles for loss and one-and-a-half sacks, earning second-team All-Big Ten honors. In his senior season in 2014, he finished with 36 tackles, nine tackles for loss and two sacks, again earning second-team All-Big Ten honors.
In total, Davis appeared in 43 games at Iowa, making 26 starts and finishing with 94 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and three-and-a-half sacks.
How he fits the Bears' scheme: Davis was a two-gap defensive tackle who played primarily played as a shaded nose tackle at Iowa. He projects as an ideal fit inside (zero- or one-technique) or outside (four- or five-technique) in a 30-front, as he plays with both power and quickness.
Davis has heavy, powerful hands to strike and separate off the snap of the ball as he diagnoses the action in the backfield. He frequently reset the line of scrimmage and held the point against the run. He has a surprisingly quick first step for his size and length and is light on his feet, which enabled him to also pursue laterally on plays outside of his gap.
While Davis' best contributions came as a run stopper, he was also able to push the pocket from the inside. He uses a swipe and hump moves when hand fighting, and he also uses a spin to disengage. He has a quick burst to close when in position to make a play in the backfield.
Given his measurables and his dominant performance at the Senior Bowl, it's puzzling to understand why Davis wasn't more productive in college. Perhaps it was partially scheme-related, as he was asked to keep linebackers clean. Perhaps it's a conditioning issue, but undoubtedly his effort wanes on film. He can frequently be seen at a standstill on plays away from him or standing nearly straight up out of his stance rather than playing with consistently low pad level. When he does play with proper technique and fundamentals, he's dominant, so scouts will have to determine what the issue is that prevents him from playing at a high level on a snap-by-snap basis.
Draft projection: Given his massive frame and movement skills, Davis has a chance to sneak into the end of the first round, but he will likely land near the top of the second round.
Dan Durkin covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.
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