SDBR Q-A: Can Carl Davis Anchor SD's D-Line?

One of Tom Telesco’s top offseason goals is to beef up his defensive line. One candidate to help the cause is Carl Davis, the powerful defensive tackle from Iowa. We talk to Davis in this exclusive interview and ask how he believes he would fit into San Diego’s 3-4 defense.

There is no denying the fact the Chargers must improve on the defensive line. San Diego was one of just six teams to allow at least 4.5 yards per rushing attempt last season. Also, in-season pickup Ricardo Mathews -- who played well after earning a spot in the rotation -- is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.

These factors have the Chargers closely monitoring all of the defensive line prospects in the draft. One player who has stood out early in the process is Iowa DT Carl Davis, who was one of the most disruptive players at the Senior Bowl.

The all-star event was critical for Davis (6'5, 318 lbs.), who put up a lot of good film with the Hawkeyes without the gaudy stats to show for it. He was asked to play mostly in a two-gap system, which resulted in muted career numbers of 92 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

One would think Davis would feel pressured to show he is better than those numbers, but he was one of the most relaxed and confident players in Mobile, Ala.

“I’m just trying to have fun,” he said. “Honestly, football is a fun game and I enjoy it.”

All throughout Senior Bowl week, Davis proved he can hang with the best prospects in the country. He played with great leverage and showed an explosive first step and strong hands.

The question from Chargers fans is whether Davis can fit into the team’s hybrid 3-4 defense, which really functions more like a 4-3 as far as the defensive linemen are concerned. Davis insists has has the versatility to be effective in any scheme, even one as muddled as San Diego's.

“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 relished the opportunities provided by the Senior Bowl as much as any prospect could. He took full advantage of the chance 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 cashed in on the opportunity to play against some of the top offensive linemen in the country. Not only did he hold his own, but he consistently won 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.”

It’s an opportunity of which Davis took full advantage. A superb athlete who was a three-sport star in high school (also playing basketball and track & field), Davis was a nightmare for most offensive linemen, especially in one-on-one situations. He drew the attention of scouts all week long.

This week brings another major opportunity for Davis, as he will participate in the NFL Combine. He feels well prepared for the event, having spent the last month training in Pensacola, Fla.

Davis, who is extremely well spoken, figures to impress teams in the interview process. If his numbers at the Combine are as impressive as his play at the Senior Bowl, he has a legitimate chance to hear his name called within the first 50 picks 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.

Is Davis the right man for the Chargers? Discuss inside our new message boards.

Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the team. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 18 years and covered the team since '03. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

SD Super Chargers Top Stories