Making a 53-man roster as a rookie can always be a challenge. Making it as a seventh-round pick on a loaded defense, when you haven't even had the advantage of a preseason, is even more of a challenge.
But for Steelers defensive tackle Carlos Davis, he overcame the challenges.
Davis was selected by the Steelers in the seventh-round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the 232nd overall pick. He made the 53-man roster, while veteran defensive tackle Daniel McCullers was waived and signed to the practice squad.
Early in the season Davis, like many rookies, had to bide his time, inactive for the first seven games. He made his NFL debut against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9, recording two solo tackles. The following week he had a tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 9 and added two tackles against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 16. He finished out the year with a tackle against the Cleveland Browns in Week 17.
The numbers might not have been eye-popping, with six tackles in seven games, but gaining experience was a key for him.
Davis came to the Steelers from Nebraska with a good resume, with 125 total tackles, including 18 for a loss, and 9 ½ sacks.
"He is a strong kid. He is a talented athlete," said Coach Mike Tomlin at the time he was drafted. "He is a two-sport player, was on the track and field team."
Davis, who was an All-American in track and field, played his final season as a graduate student and started 11 of 12 games as a defensive end his senior season. He had 32 tackles, ranking second among Nebraska's defensive linemen, only behind his twin brother Kahlil Davis, who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 194th pick overall.
"That's the closest you could ever get to someone," said Davis of being a twin. "The weirdest bond you could ever have is being a twin. You pick up on things that the other does. You do certain things without realizing the other person did it. You have a feel for it.
"It's amazing. I don't know if I could have done it without having a best friend there along the way. There were some hard times there. It was always nice to have someone there to reassure you. I knew if he didn't give up, I wasn't giving up."
Take a look at photographs of Steelers DT Carlos Davis from the 2020 season