Getting To Know Bears’ 1st Round Draft Pick Gabe Carimi
For those of you who aren’t familiar with new offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, here’s all you need to know about the Bears’ 29th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
This is from CBS Sports…
It didn’t take much to convince Carimi to become a Badger. The Cottage Grove, Wis., native was a Parade All-American who wanted to be the next in a long line of great offensive linemen to roll through Wisconsin.
After redshirting in 2006 to add weight, Carimi was thrown into the fire as the replacement for left tackle Joe Thomas, who was drafted No. 3 overall by the Cleveland Browns in 2007. Carimi started all 13 games that season on the blind side, where he would anchor the Badgers’ offensive line for 49 starts over four years.
By his junior season, Carimi began to garner national attention and was selected first-team All-Big Ten by the media and was a second-team choice by the coaches. That catapulted him into 2010, when he helped the Badgers average 5.47 yards per carry and 245.7 rushing yards per game.
When Carimi says he’s the best offensive tackle in the 2011 draft, he has the hardware and resume to back up his claim. The Outland Trophy winner has faced Adrian Clayborn (Missouri), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue) and Cameron Heyward (Ohio State) – pass rushers who are all projected as potential first-round picks this year by NFLDraftScout.com. He also squared off against teammate J.J. Watt in practice on a daily basis.
“I have a better resume of going against better talent than anyone else, so that makes me more (pro) ready,” Carimi said at the scouting combine. “I’m physically stronger and have more career starts and better knowledge of the game than any other tackle out there. That’s while I’m the No. 1 tackle.”
Boston College’s Anthony Castonzo actually had 53 career starts, but Carimi’s point is well made nonetheless. He has the size, toughness, strength and confidence to play very early in his career.
The question is where that will be. Carimi wants to play left tackle, but could be a better fit on the right side. He also said he “handled it better than anybody else” when he was among several tackles asked to take snaps at guard during Senior Bowl week.
“I just used my natural ability and athleticism to play real well at that,” Carimi said. “I’ve been in a pro style offense for four years. When you go to the Senior Bowl, you see how much more knowledge you have coming out of a pro style offenses versus the other tackles that were there at the Senior Bowl.”
Carimi prefers tackle, and said no teams at the combine talked to him about moving to guard.
“Obviously, I think I can play left tackle,” he said. “It’s up to the organization what their needs and wants are.”
Pass blocking: Has the elite agility and nimble feet to protect the quarterback’s blindside. Very difficult to turn the corner against because of his lateral movement and solid footwork. Also protects the inside lane well. Delivers a strong hand punch capable of knocking back an opponent, and is able to recoil and extend again. Uses his length to block his man with one hand and knock an edge blitzer off his path with the other. Quick to cut on bubble screens and reverses, though he could get more of his man’s legs to be truly effective. Bends at the waist while engaged; usually holds on to prevent secondary rush but will also end up on the ground too often.
Run blocking: Known as an athletic pass protector, but is a strong blocker for the Badger run game. Has strong upper and lower body builds despite his height. Plays with leverage against stout defensive ends and tackles on the edge, can get under their pads and churn his legs to move them down or off the line. Effective combo blocker, gets a hand on a tackle and still manages to push ends out of the play on strong-side runs. Leans or bends at the waist to latch on at times, will get shed and lose his balance.
Pulling/trapping: Usually not asked to pull or trap from the outside, but down-blocks often and has the quickness and footwork to move behind the line. Gets his quick hands out in front to get a piece of inside defenders before moving to the MIKE linebacker. Can sustain blocks in space because of his length and nimble feet.
Initial Quickness: Elite first step in his kick slide and lateral movement, does not get beat off the edge very often. Also explodes off the ball on run plays, is capable of driving his man back a few yards. Defenders will take advantage of the quickness to take him upfield or knock him off balance, however.
Downfield: Excellent footwork and agility to get downfield. Reaches linebackers at the second level and defensive backs further downfield equally well. Knows the proper angle to cut off defenders from the ballcarrier. Good lateral movement once engaged, gives effort to sustain against smaller defenders. Tends to bend at the waist and punch instead of moving after initial contact.
Intangibles: Solid player with strong work ethic, as well as football and general intelligence. Received multiple Academic All-American and All-Big Ten awards. Missed three games in 2008 with right MCL sprain, but played through maladies in 2009: slight tear in right MCL scarring, left AC joint (shoulder) sprain, H1N1 virus. Fasted for 24 hours before 2008 game against Iowa in observance of Yom Kippur.
Compares to: Michael Roos, Titans — Roos might have been a first-round pick, as Carimi is projected to be, if he had played at Wisconsin instead of Eastern Washington. Like Roos, expect Carimi to get a shot on the left side because of his toughness despite lacking exceptional athleticism.