49ers Pick No. 220: Defensive Tackle Kalia Davis, Central Florida
I have to admit, this is probably the pick I was the most “meh” on in this entire draft class. I certainly didn’t think Kalia Davis is a horrible prospect by any stretch of the imagination, but I wasn’t sure of the upside here.
But doing some research into writing this article, there is some potential beneath the surface here, and Davis could develop into more than a generic interior defensive lineman who offers no presence in the pass rush.
The big strength here is Davis is a big run stuffer at 6-foot-2 and 310 pounds, and I think he fits the range as a two-down defender. The downside is he’s coming off a torn ACL, which affected his draft stock because he didn’t play in 2020 either, due to electing to opt out during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the opportunity to contribute is there.
Davis needs to build a bit more strength to be a consistent player, however, and his ability to hold up in the trenches right away I’m not so sure about. Similar to early pick Drake Johnson, however, there is some interesting potential to be had if he does fill out his frame.
The wild card is exactly where he fits in terms of his pass-rushing. Davis is a former linebacker and does have some surprising athletic ability hidden in his huge frame, and he showed some pass-rushing acumen with a sack in five games this season and three sacks in his previous season in 2019. He also had 12.5 tackles for loss in that timeframe.
Davis will probably pan out to be a big body to absorb the run, but there’s a definite upside here. I’ll be interested to see how he responds to training camp if he’s ready to go after the ACL tear.