<
>

Cowboys draft breakdown: DT Carl Davis

With the draft coming up at the end of the month, we will offer up a breakdown of players at positions of need for the Dallas Cowboys.

Iowa defensive tackle Carl Davis

Height: 6-4 5/8 Weight: 320

ESPN Insider rank: No. 5 defensive tackle, No. 29 overall

Games viewed: Indiana, Nebraska

Scouting report: He is strong. He can lock out his arms to keep blockers at a distance and then slide them out of the way to make a tackle. Against Indiana, he stood a guard up in the hole, read which with way Tevin Coleman was trying to go and made the tackle.

What the Cowboys need from a tackle to take early is some pass-rush ability. He has some pretty good feet and moves. Did I mention he’s strong? He clubbed the left tackle and buckled the guy. That’s strong. He played the tilt nose on a number of occasions and was able to penetrate early to make a tackle for loss on Coleman. But there were too many times where the linemen were able to ride him out of the play in that spot to create creases. There were times he made it too easy to be blocked.

He had a slow start against Nebraska, standing up off the snap. He came up with a big tackle on a quarterback scramble, disengaging from the lineman to allow just a short gain. He was able to power his way through the line to create some pressure, hitting the quarterback on a pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. He was untouched twice by Nebraska’s line and came up with a tackle for loss on the quarterback and a pressure.

There are some conditioning worries but late in the game against Nebraska he was still pushing the pocket, and he handled a double team well at the goal line for a teammate to make a tackle to force a field goal. In overtime he showed some quickness off the ball but couldn’t close the deal with a tackle.

Can he help on special teams? He got enough push up the middle to block a field goal.

Biggest concern: On the first day of training camp Rod Marinelli puts his defense through a pursuit drill. The idea is to have all 11 players sprinting to the ball and if there is a player who loafs then they have to do the drill again. While Davis has all the requirements to be a top tackle, I saw him too many times not get to the ball or make a full effort to get to the ball. There were times a runner or quarterback broke free and if he had worked his way toward the ball the gain would have been minimal or for a loss. There are a lot of things coaches can teach, but effort is not one of them.

What ESPN Insider says about his run defense: Capable of playing 3-technique DT or 1-technique NT in a 4-3 front, as well as 5-technique DE in a 3-4. Tall, long frame with excellent weight distribution. Quick off the ball, light on his feet (for 320 pounds) and has good lower- and upper-body strength. Is tough to move off the ball with one man, and can take his game to another level with improved technique. He's capable of effectively shooting hands inside and controlling blockers, but needs to be more consistent with hand use. Fails to shoot hands inside too often, which gives OL an easy target to attack and also prevents him from keeping his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage.

Cowboys fit: He can play either defensive tackle spot and there were times I liked him more as a nose tackle than a three technique. He has really good quickness off the ball and can split double teams. But I keep going back to whether the Cowboys would take a defensive tackle at No. 27, which might be too high for Davis. The second round might be a better spot but he is likely to be gone by the time the 60th pick rolls around.