Scouting Report: You might get differing views on this, but for me, there is no better tackle prospect in this draft than the Wisconsin Badgers Gabe Carimi. The problem with making that statement is this is not a great offensive tackle class. When you look at the top tackle prospects from the last few drafts, you don't put Carimi into that sort of elite tier. Size-wise Carimi is NFL ready with a huge wingspan and muscular thick frame. He is a little long at nearly 6'7" and if there is a shortcoming in his game it comes from there. But first the positives. Carimi is a powerful crushing run blocker. You can tell he enjoys run blocking and plays with a serious lack of respect for his opponents. Great drive blocker who likes to get into his man and just work him upfield. He's also very smart, knowing when to disengage and get to that second level and on several plays I saw him take multiple defenders out on a single play.
In pass protection his height is his curse at times and a squatty quick end can get up under him and take him out of his leverage. But overall, going back and watching him play you saw that Wisconsin rarely gave Carimi any help on his side and he did a great job. One thing Carimi excels at is working a rusher up and past the quarterback using that long reach to manipulate the defender. He sets the edge well and just needs to take that long body and figure out how to make it a little shorter to improve his leverage. At that point he’ll be much improved in the passing game, especially against the inside rush.
Draft Status: If I were a GM of a team who needed an offensive tackle, I wouldn't hesitate to draft Carimi anytime in the middle of the first round. There is a growing movement that Colorado's Nate Solder is a better prospect and I suspect that's partially due to the fact many consider Solder a better left tackle prospect and Carimi more of an NFL right tackle. With the left tackle being rightfully coveted, don't be surprised if Carimi isn't the first OT off the board. I admit with Carimi's run blocking I would be tempted to put him at RT as well, but I wouldn't rule him out on the left either.
Final Analysis: As I went back through the Wisconsin Badgers season, there was one thing that really stood out to me. There was a three game stretch where the Badgers played Ohio State at home and then Iowa and Purdue on the road. This meant Carimi was matched up with Ohio State's Cameron Heyward, Iowa's Adrian Clayborn, and Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan. 3 elite defensive ends and 3 very different players in terms of strengths. If you don't think Carimi can play, go watch those games. He more than held his own in all three games and really showed an intensity and intelligence for the game that never wavered even by that third game. You have to like a player who relishes a challenge and steps up week after week. He's one of those guys who does everything well but because he doesn't have anything either superlative or negative that stands out, you sort of lose track of him. Whoever drafts Carimi is going to get an experienced guy with 49 starts who they can plug into their lineup for many seasons and get excellent production from.
Reminds me of: David Diehl OT New York Giants. He's the same big tall physical guy who plays a no nonsense style of football and just makes plays, especially in the run game. Diehl has put together a nice 8 year career as an every game starter and while he's not the most athletic guy and isn't going to wow people with his measureables, he just keeps being that anchor to the Giants line. Carimi can certainly be that same type of player.
Red Flags: None
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy