OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens finally addressed their defense in the third round with the selection of Iowa defensive tackle Carl Davis with the 90th overall pick.
And it’s clear the 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman is out to prove to other teams that he shouldn’t have lasted so long on the board with some pundits previously projecting him to go as early as the end of the first round. Despite not having much contact with Davis during the evaluation process, the Ravens felt fortunate to have him fall into their laps.
“I feel like I’m one of the best defensive tackles in this year’s draft,” said Davis, who didn’t think he was on the Ravens’ radar. “I saw a lot of guys that got picked ahead of me, and that puts a chip on my shoulder. I feel like, especially when I’ve got a chip on my shoulder, there’s nobody that can stop me. I feel like I’m that much of a dominant player.”
In his senior season with the Hawkeyes, Davis was named second-team all-Big Ten after collecting 36 tackles (nine of them for a loss) and two sacks.
Davis is considered a strong run-stopping lineman who will help fill the void of five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. The Ravens will likely count on 2014 second-round pick Timmy Jernigan to step into the 3-techinique spot, but his slighter build could be replaced by Davis in short-yardage situations next to nose tackle Brandon Williams. Davis expressed confidence that he’ll be able to play all over the defensive line, which is a valuable asset with defensive coordinator Dean Pees preferring versatility in the rotation.
The Ravens were impressed with Davis’ dominating performance at the Senior Bowl and were even more surprised to find his combination of size and speed available late in the third round. The defensive line faces a tall order in replacing Ngata’s production, but Davis sounded more than willing to embrace the challenge as the Ravens have now taken a defensive tackle in the second or third round in each of the last three drafts.
“Somebody has to carry the fire, somebody has to make the tradition go on, and why not be me?” Davis said. “I know they’ve got other guys up there [like] Jernigan. Those are terrific players. I plan on learning from those guys that have already been there and know and played next to Haloti. He’s a great player, but he’s human just like we both are. And if he can do it, I feel like I can do it.”