49ers roster 2023: Welcome back to the fray, Kalia Davis

A year after a redshirt rookie season, 49ers defensive tackle Kalia Davis might be in for a vital role in 2023.
UCF Knights defensive lineman Kalia Davis (22)
UCF Knights defensive lineman Kalia Davis (22) / Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

In case you forgot about San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Kalia Davis, here's a brief reminder that might help you remember:

  • Niners drafted Davis out of UCF in Round 6 of the 2022 NFL Draft
  • Davis suffered a torn ACL in 2021 that forced him on the non-football (NFI) list
  • Davis subsequently missed his rookie year, essentially redshirting 2022

Some San Francisco fans may recall how former general manager Trent Baalke had a habit of drafting players coming off serious injuries, particularly ACL tears, hoping they'd rehabilitate and come back as strong as ever in the wake of being drafted with a much lesser pick.

It didn't exactly work for the 49ers, though, and the follow-up regime of general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have had their share of failures drafting seriously injured players, albeit nowhere near as extreme as Baalke.

Nevertheless, Davis is now next on that list of players who must make a dent after spending his first year at the pro level getting healthy from a serious injury.

What position does Kalia Davis play?

Davis is a interior defensive lineman.

A former linebacker who bulked up to 310 pounds, Davis was referred as a "one-gapping three-technique" defensive tackle by NFL.com's Lance Zierlein.

How much is Kalia Davis earning from the 49ers in 2023?

Being a sixth-round pick, Davis isn't going to be too costly a commodity in year two of his rookie contract.

According to Over the Cap, the 25-year-old Davis will cost the Niners just $783,003 this season.

A shade over $99,000 of that is dead money remaining on the contract, so it's feasible San Francisco could waive the defensive tackle with notably little financial ramification if he's healthy but fails to make much of a positive impact.

What are the 49ers expecting from Kalia Davis?

We won't go too deep into the weeds about Davis and his scouting report. You can check out what Niner Noise had to say about him not long after he was drafted right here.

The 49ers lost nose tackle D.J. Jones in free agency to the Denver Broncos back in 2022 and didn't exactly make up for his departure. Under Lynch and Shanahan, the Niners have preferred short and squatty nose tackles, even though Davis' scouting report views him more of a 3-tech than a 1-tech kind of player.

Either way, San Francisco is a little thin by the way of depth for its D-line interior, and Davis could potentially be the No. 2 inside option behind defensive tackles Arik Armstead, Javon Hargrave and Javon Kinlaw.

That's probably what the 49ers envision the second-year pro to be, banking on the hope he's fully recovered from that ACL tear and doesn't go the way of so many Baalke-era picks did if they were coming off a serious collegiate injury.

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