Rookie snapshot: Charles Davis

In need of depth at tight end, the Pittsburgh Steelers grabbed Boilermaker Charles Davis with the second of their two fifth round selections in April's NFL draft. While the pick elicited a yawn, at best, from the Steelers' faithful, Davis is determined to prove himself worthy of the selection.

PITTSBURGH – "Player you'd least want to meet in a dark alley."

It took only one walk across the locker room in just a pair of practice shorts to be able to figure out which one of the Steelers' draft picks was voted that distinction by a group of his peers while in college.

At 6-foot-6 and 260-pounds, Charles Davis is a physical specimen who has a nasty streak to go along with it – just what the Steelers were looking for when they drafted the tight end in the fifth round out of Purdue in April to compliment their starter in pass-catching sensation Heath Miller.

Oh yeah, when you talk about Davis, make sure you don't forget to put a huge emphasis on that nasty streak.

"I guess we'll see," Davis said with a chuckle when asked about his perceived less-than-pleasurable demeanor. "You have to be. I am going to have to be if I am going to be able to compete with these guys."

Davis doesn't like to elaborate much in being voted ‘Player you'd least want to meet in a dark alley' by a Champaign, Ill. Newspaper during his senior year at Purdue. Maybe that's because he wasn't voted that accolade by a cross-section of football players from the Big Ten. Instead, it was a poll of basketball players that labeled Davis that.

Or maybe just because it's true.

"They took a poll of a couple of players in the conference and I guess I won," Davis said. "You know, they don't see too many football players on the basketball court. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. One guy views me as one way, and another guy says this, I don't worry about it. I just go out there and play the best of my ability."

His best ability while in college was his athleticism, something that he honed his senior year when he was asked to play on Gene Keady's basketball team at Purdue.

Davis was a growing prospect on the football field after a junior and was soon to be named to the John Mackey Award Watch List. He was named second team All-Big Ten after finishing fourth on the team with 34 receptions for 416 yards and three touchdowns when he decided to take a crack at the hardwood.

"In the summer the basketball team would have open gym," Davis said. "Just to stay in shape I'd go over there and play sometimes. One of the point guards went up to Coach Keady and asked them if I could get a spot. So they came down and checked me out a little bit and gave me a spot."

In 19 games, Davis averaged 12.9 minutes, 2.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per outing but gained much more in respect around campus for helping out the basketball team in its time of need.

"Coming out of high school, I was a pretty big recruit in some of the lower schools like the MAC schools in terms of bigger schools to play basketball, no," Davis said. "So I just went with football because it felt like it was my best bet. I could've went to Division I. But there wasn't too much need for a 6-6 center anywhere."

However, there was a big need for a tight end on the Steelers roster despite having Miller and veteran Jerame Tuman entrenched in the top two spots. Those were the only two tight ends on the roster last year for the majority of the season forcing them to use tackle Barrett Brooks in their goal line package rather than a third tight end.

"Naturally it would be better if you have three guys on the active roster that you prepare each week but you have to make some sacrifices for the team," tight ends coach James Daniels said. "I'm sure that we'll be getting three guys ready to play again this year in some form or another."

Davis' blocking skills have come into question despite his massive size mostly because of the type of offense he played in at Purdue.

The Boilermakers played a more of a finesse offense that didn't require their tight ends to block a lot. According to Davis, just because he hasn't been asked to block much doesn't mean that's a weak spot of his game.

"Everybody is entitled to their own opinion," Davis said. "You really didn't get to see what I was capable of in terms of a physical nature. When I get in there, I am going to prove I can play just like everybody else."

And Davis knows that his role will more than likely be that of blocking, especially at the goal line.

"It's a physical style of offense," Davis said. "They are going to run the ball a lot so they need some physical style of offense.

"Goal line or even if these guys need a blow or something maybe I can give them a few plays off or something. Hopefully I can get on the team and do what I can to help them at.

"I will do whatever they need, I guess that is the only way I can describe it. I am humble, I am hungry and I am ready to go. I will play special teams if they need it. I will block, I will catch, I will run, I will wash dishes, it doesn't matter."

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