Carl Davis has quickly grown accustomed to a full game's workload in the NFL. No Ravens defensive lineman has played more this preseason than the third-round draft pick out of Iowa, and he doesn't expect that to change in Thursday's preseason finale against the Atlanta Falcons.
"It's been a whole, busy preseason for me," Davis said. "I've been out there a lot, getting a lot of reps and honestly, I'm enjoying it. It's helped me prepare for the season. I know the season is going to be intense."
Davis has been a rare constant among defensive linemen. Top players like Brandon Williams and Chris Canty have been protected, and injuries have impacted nearly everyone else in the position group.
He started the preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints in place of Timmy Jernigan, and played well into the fourth quarter before cramping up. He also got significant first-team snaps on Saturday against the Washington Redskins when Jernigan went down with a knee injury.
In 137 snaps over the three games, according to Pro Football Focus, Davis has filled up the stat sheet. He has seven tackles, two quarterback hits and one pass deflection so far.
"Carl's done a great job," coach John Harbaugh said. "He's still a rookie, but I look at where he was when he first came here. In Iowa, they do a great job of developing players. So he was about as far along as you could be as a college player, but he's still young. ... [Defensive line coach] Clarence [Brooks] has done a great job with him, and I think he's gotten himself into a position where he's ready to compete at this level and play very well."
Davis has always thought highly of his abilities. After he was drafted, he said he had a chip on his shoulder because the other 31 teams in the NFL let him fall to the Ravens in the third round.
"I still felt a certain type of way about where I fell, but right now, I look at it as a blessing," Davis said. "What an opportunity just to be able to prove myself. That's what keeps me going. I'm not saying this is me, but some people, if they get picked first round, they might get complacent. It's kind of a chip on my shoulder, keep on going."
The preseason has provided plenty of opportunities for Davis to prove himself, and Thursday will likely be an extension of that.
With Jernigan and DeAngelo Tyson (shoulder) likely shelved for the finale, and Williams and Canty not playing, Davis joins Lawrence Guy, Micajah Reynolds, Christo Bilukidi, and Kapron Lewis-Moore as the only available defensive linemen.
"It is going to be tight," Harbaugh said. "It's going to be a strain on those guys. It's a tough game, but it's also an opportunity. It's an opportunity for those guys to show what they can do, and they'll be excited to play."