After having the league’s best run defense in 2019, the Buccaneers managed to keep the majority of their group intact during this offseason. They were able to bring back Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh and Rakeem Nunez-Roches, losing only Carl Nassib from their front seven.
On Saturday afternoon, Tampa Bay added some potential depth to the unit, using its sixth-round pick—the No. 194 selection—on Nebraska defensive tackle Khalil Davis. Here, we have three things you need to know about the new Buccaneer.
He is impressively agile and quick for his size
Davis’ NFL.com draft profile lists him at 6-foot-1, 308 pounds. He’s obviously big, as he’s a defensive tackle. But what’s crazy about his size is that he plays with much more agility and speed than you might expect. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he ran a 4.75-second 40-yard dash, taking sixth among the defensive line class.
A 308 lb. man just ran a 4.76— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 29, 2020
That man is Nebraska’s Khalil Davis.pic.twitter.com/dKSCSw4WOl
That’s pretty unreal speed for a 308-pounder, plus he possesses great strength. His 32 bench-press reps at the combine tied him for second-most among defensive linemen. He’s just simply a great athlete, which is something he attributes to playing multiple sports throughout his life. Carmen Vitali of Buccaneers.com tweeted this during Davis’ Saturday afternoon call with the Tampa media:
Khalil Davis attributes his speed (he ran a 4.75 40-yard dash at 308lbs during the Combine) and athleticism to his parents putting him and his brother into all different kinds of sports. He started track at the age of 9 or 10 and he was also a swimmer.— Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV) April 25, 2020
Davis was a key part of the track and field team at Blue Springs High School in Missouri, helping the Wildcats to a 2015 Class 5 Missouri state title. He came up with second-place finishes in both the discus and shot put events at the final. Then, in addition to his success on the football field with the Cornhuskers—he was a third-team All-Big Ten selection in 2019—he saw some success in track and field at the collegiate level as well. In 2019, he was an NCAA Track & Field Honorable-Mention All-American in the discus event.
Sharpening his athletic skills in other sports led to this kind of highlight reel on the football field:
He played alongside his twin brother at Nebraska
Remember the aforementioned second-place finishes in the discus and shot put events at the 2015 state finals for Davis? He finished behind a teammate in both of those events. That teammate also happened to be his twin brother, Carlos. Khalil is five minutes younger than Carlos and both developed into outstanding athletes who went on to play together at Nebraska. In fact, the elder of the two was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in Saturday’s seventh round.
Khalil and Carlos were both eight-time letterwinners for the Huskers, with both earning four in football and four in track and field. They were the ninth and tenth athletes to ever do so at Nebraska and the first two to accomplish the feat in more than 50 years.
As The Draft Network’s Trevor Sikkema details in his outstanding piece on the twins, Khalil and Carlos were actually adopted very early in their lives and grew up learning the importance of relationships, even if they weren’t blood relationships. An excerpt from Sikkema’s feature:
For as talented, hard working and competitive as the Davis brothers are, they’re lucky. Not every child born of unfortunate situations like the ones they were born into gets the chance to have a stable upbringing. But Tracy and Carl made sure these boys knew what love was from the moment they brought them home. Since then, that’s where their identity truly lies: in love.
The full article—which is linked below—is worth your time. The Davis twins have been together all their lives. So, naturally, Khalil was hoping the Bucs would bring Carlos on board with him. He talked about that desire with the Tampa media after he was drafted, which is also when he noted that his adoptive parents needed two refrigerators when he and Carlos were in high school. However, the two won’t get to team up in Tampa due to Carlos now being a Steeler. Regardless, the bond of the two is sure to remain strong even if they aren’t on the same sideline together.
Greatness in football requires blood, sweat & tears— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) February 22, 2020
For @HuskerFBNation’s Khalil & Carlos Davis, the sweat & tears are straight forward; the blood part is not
The story of how the #NFLDraft bound Davis twins identities go beyond the blood in their veins:https://t.co/mkhJ2s02dw
He is the third Nebraska alum on Tampa Bay’s defense
In the short time since he was selected in the sixth round on Saturday, Davis has already talked about how excited he is to join two fellow Huskers on Tampa Bay’s defense. Those two Nebraska greats, of course, are Lavonte David and Ndamukong Suh. David spent two years in Lincoln (2010 and 2011), while Suh was there from 2005-2009.
Davis even mentioned Saturday that he looked up to both guys during his time at Nebraska. Now, he gets to play with both of them. And considering his position, it’s certainly going to be huge for him to learn from a veteran defensive tackle like Suh. If Davis can develop in 2020, he might even be able to step into a bigger role in 2021 if Suh decides to hang up his cleats after playing his 11th season in the league.
Just off the phone with Khalil Davis' agent, Melvin Bratton.— Steven M. Sipple (@HuskerExtraSip) April 25, 2020
"The Buccaneers liked Khalil a lot and want him to roll behind Suh and take over from there. They like Khalil as a quick-gap type guy. They want Suh to mentor him, teach him the game, and then turn it over to him."
In addition to being the third Nebraska product on the Buccaneer defense, he joins plenty of Big Ten players on Tampa Bay’s roster as a whole. Of the team’s first five draft picks in 2020, he is the fourth to come from the Big Ten. Tristan Wirfs (Iowa), Antoine Winfield Jr. (Minnesota) and Tyler Johnson (Minnesota) were all opponents of Davis’ over the last few years. Aside from the newcomers, alums of the conference that were already on the roster before this weekend include Tom Brady, Jack Cichy, D’Cota Dixon, William Gholston, Chris Godwin, Anthony Nelson, Dare Ogunbowale and Donovan Smith (as well as David and Suh, too).
So, that’s Khalil Davis, Bucs fans. He’s your latest addition to the defensive tackle group. You can find him on Twitter at @khalildaish95. Be sure to take some time to congratulate him and welcome him to Tampa Bay!