Defensive tackle wouldn’t seem to be a need for the Carolina Panthers considering they have re-signed their two backup defensive tackles, Colin Cole and Dwan Edwards, this offseason. So news that Iowa’s Carl Davis is expected to visit with the Panthers on March 25th, according to Michael Lombardo of SD Bolt Report, may not make a whole of sense.
However, GM Dave Gettleman has never shied away from drafting best player available. If a defensive tackle like Davis is on the board in the second round, this would be an excellent value pick. Even though the team drafted two defensive tackles two years ago (Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short), the fact that backups Cole and Edwards are the two oldest players on the roster, may be a cause of concern for Gettleman.
Aside from adding youth to the position, one of the reasons the Panthers could be interested in Davis is because he has the physical abilities to play almost any position along the defensive line. The defensive tackle told Lombardo “I’ve seen teams that I’ve talked to that run a 3-4 and I’ve talked to some teams that run a 4-3. Some teams see me as a 1-technique, a 3-technique, a defensive end, whatever. And that’s really a good thing for them to see me as a versatile guy who can play multiple positions. I don’t have a preference for what team or what scheme I want to play in.”
The stat line on Davis won’t jump off the page at anyone with only 3.5 sacks and 94 total tackles over his career at Iowa. However, in that defense he was asked to be more of a traditional two-gap defender, basically a guy who can engage with an offensive linemen and move him from one side to the other.
This is an excellent skill set to have but his numbers at the scouting combine show he has some excellent explosion and can be a playmaker from the middle of a defense. He finished 11th among defensive linemen in Vertical Jump (33 inches) as well as had a 40-yard dash time of 5.07, which is respectable for a player who is 6’5” and 320 pounds.
The fact that the Panthers have already scheduled a private visit with Davis certainly means there is real interest on the team’s part. The team may be looking to go younger at the defensive tackle while they still have that veteran presence of Cole and Edwards. This is going to be a position to watch for the Panthers during the NFL Draft next month.