Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

5 things to know about 49ers sixth-round pick DT Kalia Davis

Apr 30, 2022 at 3:22 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers added some depth to the defensive tackle position in Round 6 of the 2022 NFL Draft with the selection of Central Florida defensive tackle Kalia Davis, although they will have to wait a while before getting to see what Davis will bring to them on the field.

Davis (6-1, 302) is currently recovering from a season-ending ACL injury, but once he's healthy, he plans to show the 49ers they drafted a "dawg." Here are some things to know about Davis as he begins his 49ers career.

Major position switches

Davis has had an unusual positional progression, moving from high school linebacker to defensive end early in his college career and eventually to defensive tackle.

"I played linebacker in high school and I was recruited in college as a linebacker," Davis said after being selected by the 49ers. "So I played linebacker my freshman and sophomore year at USC. My junior year, that's when I moved to D-End and five games into my 2019 season I moved to D-Tackle. I've been a D-Tackle ever since."

Fortunately he seems to prefer defensive tackle, which is undoubtedly where he'll remain for the rest of his career.

"I like tackle because you're closer to the ball," Davis said in 2019. "You make one person miss and you're closer to the quarterback."

He's been able to keep a lot of his ability to move despite his growth, but he hasn't been able to show it much for the past two years.

He hasn't played much since 2019 but he's heading in the right direction

Davis opted to sit out of the 2020 season due to uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, then he tore his ACL five games into the 2021 season. Davis had 20 tackles and eight tackles for loss as a sophomore in 2019 and started nine games at defensive tackle and had 17 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and one sack in the five games before his injury in 2021.

"I feel like I was on pace for defensive player of the year," said Davis at UCF's pro day, where he put up 30 bench press reps of 225 pounds while being unable to participate in other activities. "It was just humbling for me."

Fortunately, Davis is making better-than-expected progress as he aims to be ready to play by training camp.

"I'm five months out of surgery so I'm just going to get with the 49ers and their training staff," Davis said. "I can't wait to work with them. We're just going to take it from there."

A possible steal?

Davis would have likely been selected higher in the NFL Draft had he not gotten hurt in 2021. UCF head coach Gus Mahlzahn told reporters on March 29 that he expects to see Davis succeed when he gets to the NFL.

"He's a impact player," Malzahn said, per Nicholson Student Media. "I mean, he's got a chance to play at the next level for a long time. He's very explosive. He plays the run well. He's got unbelievable instincts."

What does Davis think the 49ers will be getting from him?

"A dawg. A dawg, most definitely," Davis said. "They're going to get a dawg. Someone who's a disruptor and someone who's coming in to make an impact from day one."

Ready for Coach Kocurek:

49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek is known for being a fiery, intense, and highly vocal instructor, but Davis says he's looking forward to the experience. He had someone similar at UCF in former defensive line coach Shane Burnham.

"When I first moved to D-Tackle, my coach, his name was Coach Burnham, and now he's at Florida State," Davis said. "But him and Coach Kris have similar playstyles. They want to get everything out of you. I actually prefer that coaching style because I'm fairly new to the position. But with Coach Burnham pushing me like that, that made me into the player I am."

Davis also got to know Kocurek during a formal meeting he had with the 49ers at the NFL Scouting Combine, then had the chance to spend more time with him during a top 30 visit to 49ers facilities.

"I met the whole staff, met (general manager) John Lynch, met everybody," Davis said. "They brought me in on the 30 visit. It was just getting to know each other a little bit more. Coach Kris was taking me through the defense. He was just showing me how much similar UCF defense is to San Fran. It's a perfect situation for me; I've just got to come in and work."

Gaming is more than a hobby

What would Davis be doing if he weren't playing football? Possibly playing video games.

Davis has a talent for games, as according to his personal website, he joined a North American eSports team called Outcast Region in 2019 and also began streaming on Twitch.

He may not quite be as good at video games as he is at football, however.

"I would like to think I'm good at both, but if I had to pick really, I'd take football," Davis said. "I'm very good at gaming though."

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