Chicago Sun-Times

Tackle prospect Carimi doesn't lack confidence

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The general consensus about offensive tackles in the 2011 draft class is that there may not be a high-end talent in the group but there's enough depth to ensure that the Bears should get a potential long-term anchor at No. 29.

Just don't tell that to Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi. The 6-foot-7, 314-pounder is convinced he's ready to make an impact.

"I know I can play right away," Carimi said at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Thursday. "That's my best asset. I'm a draft-ready tackle.''

What makes him so confident?

"Because of the players I've gone against four potential first-round players this year," he said. "I have a better resume of going against better talent than anyone else, so that makes me more (pro) ready.

"I'm physically stronger and have more career starts and better knowledge of the game than any other tackle out there.

"That's why I'm the No. 1 tackle out there.''

The four potential first-round pass rushers Carimi went up against this season are Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn, Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan, Ohio State's Cameron Heyward and Wisconsin's J.J Watt.

Other tackles that could be possibilities for the Bears include Boston College's Anthony Castonzo, USC's Tyron Smith, Colorado's Nate Solder and TCU's Marcus Cannon and Mississippi State's Derek Sherrod.

"It's a good offensive line year," Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik said. "Certainly, the tackle class looks really strong. They weighed in today. A lot of guys looked really in great shape. You could tell they were taking it seriously. They were getting themselves in a good spot. It's a really talented offensive line [class], especially at the offensive tackle spot. There will be a lot of guys selected in the first couple days, and deservedly so. The tape is as good as they look physically. Obviously, that's encouraging for every club because we want to keep quarterbacks healthy."

Castonzo, who hails from Lake Zurich and grew up a Bears fan, is rated No. 1 overall by one draft publication.

"I said I was going to be a Bears fan until the day I get drafted," he said. "Then I'm a fan of whoever drafts me. They (Chicago) talked to me (at Senior Bowl). A bunch of teams talked to me. I've had contact with a lot of teams."

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We need Fred Miller back. Total beast!

Not impressed with the so called top talent he has faced. He could be a LT in the right system, like the eagles, or a RT in most systems. Needs to work on his feet.

But man does he play angry. That said I hope he enjoys his career with the eagles.

Smith is the best of the class right now, Solder has the most upside and Castanzo can take his Boston College ### back to bean town, don't come anywhere near the Bears. I have just about had it with all the lousy linemen they have produced recently. Not to mention everytime one lands on the Bears he sucks. Guy played left guard at the Senior Bowl. Just kidding I have him landing with the Colts or Pats not going to bother hoping a top tackle falls to the Bears this year. I'll just be happy if they fill some needs and find some talent for a change.

I am getting that trade down feel from Angelo, and who has a high second round draft pick? The Pats who love to move. I can see the Pats landing Solder, and Pouncey in the first round, they need a guard and tackle. Pouncey goes 28th to the the Pats if he even makes it that far. Not to mention they need help on defense, could the pats end up with 3 first round picks? They already have 2 and the 33rd. I can see the story now "Pats have three first round picks in one year, Angelo trades pick to have no first round picks in 3 years."

Then he proceeds to draft special teams players with his 2 second round picks.

Two things that you really see with Carimi is that one you tell that he wants to hurt everyone in front of him and is probably trying to restrain himself from running around the combine bumping into every defensive player he can see. Two even if he has problems on the next level mirroring speed rushers, I have no doubt you can play at a all pro level at guard in the right system. He is a lot like Nicks. Tice probably thinks it's his long lost son. To bad he will be taken before the Bears pick.

There is a lot of confidence rolling through the draft prospects this year. I like to see it, but you always wonder whether they can back it up. I think Castanzo and Carimi are by far the best "plug and play" tackles in this draft, but there are some talented players in that position group when you consider the upside of Solder, the potential of Smith, and then guys like Carpenter, Sherrod, and there are a lot of guys that can find a home on a roster somewhere.

I hope Carimi or Castanzo are still around at 29, but I have a feeling they will be long gone. Our choices are second tier guys like Sherrod and Carpenter at tackle, or some of the top guard/center prospects in Pouncey, Watkins, Wisniewski, and Ijalana.

I expect Jerry to take the safest pick of who is left at 29. he isn't going to go on potential, or look for a star. he just wants someone they can plug in to play for 4-5 years, long enough for him to retire, and for him to take credit for drafting a starter on the OL in the first round. Wisniewski and Carimi are the safe picks, Big 10 offensive linemen who are well-taught at the college level. It is a slight reach for Wisniewski at 29. Or Jerry could pull his annual trade down with a team like Buffalo, who also need a tackle to protect Fitzpatrick or a draft pick. Then he can take a guard/center AND a tackle in round 2, and go after safety, WR, and DL the rest of the way. If he does that, I expect Carpenter and Wisniewski are the targets in round 2.

Joe thought you may find this intresting over at in the combine section both Mayock and some other draft guy over there do not list Wisniewski as a top Center prospect not even in the top 5.Thought that was kinda wierd, at first I thought Mayock just forgot, but then other guy did the same thing, same guys just a different order and no Wisniewski. I wonder what is going on there?

I believe Angelo when he said he will not be forced into drafting by position. I also believe he holds little value for interior offensive line prospects and does not take them high. Not in the first two rounds in most cases, I am very intrested to see if he brakes that trend.

Some things come into play here. Frst round tackles tend to go fast and are always at a premium. Which means value is bad late, not a good thing for the way Angelo drafts. Angelo holds higher value on defensive players always, so it's hard for an offensive guy to out value a defensive guy in his book.

What is Angelo thinking? He knows the line is a priority, and says it is a priority. However what positions are a priority?

Center? Well Tice says he wants Olin back and I think Angelo will listen to him and values the insight Tice has on Linmen. So Center is probably not a high priority unless Olin walks, which I doubt happens.

Left Guard, this is an intresting position. Chris Williams sits at LG and I believe Angelo will give him every chance to excell at the position. Would Jerry invest two first round picks at the guard position or even a first and a second? That's a stretch for me to believe. However maybe Chris Williams moves back to OT. But they have a pretty big sample size of his play at tackle and it is not good. I think chances are he remains at LG.

Right Guard, Roberto Garza one of only two guys that knows what is happening on the line and what needs to be done. Not a real intresting case here, Garza has not been cut and is still on the team. Now they could draft for future help at this position just like at Center, makes sense right? However they need offensive line help, like yesterday and future picks that sit behind vets do not help the team tomorrow. You generally don't spend a first or second round pick on a developmental prospect for two years down the road. If they draft for this position or Center I am thinking round 3-5 unless someone is cut or walks.

Right tackle. Another position that depends on a lot. A lot of people like Webb and the Bears like Webb so Webb is not going anyplace except maybe LT. Maybe. He may stay at RT it depends what happens at LT. But a strange rumor has it that the Bears like him as a LT prospect.

Left tackle, Frank Omiyale, now I have to believe the Bears want to replace him at Left Tackle and they clearly did not think Chris Williams could do it or they would have moved him back, after all LT is a lot more important than LG.

So basically I think the Bears want a tackle who can man the left and the right equally as well. This gives them the flexability to move Webb around and figure out where they want him. Not that they will have that luxury. I think if they draft interior line it will in round 3-5 not 1 or 2.

That said I think the Bears will take the best that they can get at the tackle position. But in order of importance or their wish list probably looks a little like this.

1. Tyron Smith came in at 6'5 307 pounds at the combine and looks like he could put on 10 pounds no problem. Most athletic tackle in the class, played mostly right tackle but is athletic enough for the blind side.

2. Nate Solder, raw but gifted and has more upside than anyone else. Not just a finesse player should be able to handle both sides.

3. Anthony Castonzo, a pure LT this would force Webb to stay at RT but he is already their. LT holds higher value over RT.

4. Carimi, really looks like a RT, in the right system he could man the blind side but the Bears do not have system they are pass based not run based.

5. Derek Sherrod, dudes a project but maybe Tice can coach him into a starter in his first year. I think he will also be the only guy available at 29.

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on February 24, 2011 3:29 PM.

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