Who’s Hot: Wisconsin T Gabe Carimi
Why He Fits: Position of need and an outstanding run blocker
When talking to Carimi, it’s clear that the four-year starter doesn’t lack confidence. He admittedly came to the Senior Bowl with a chip on his shoulder, carried that same mindset to NFL Combine workouts and will be a favorite to start wherever he lands this April. Though he succeeded former Outland Trophy winner Joe Thomas as Wisconsin’s left tackle, many draft pundits believe Carimi fits as a right tackle at the NFL level.
The Chiefs currently have just two tackles under contract from last year’s 53-man roster –
Most agree that Carimi’s ability to run block is his greatest asset. He anchored one of college football’s best rushing attacks and the Chiefs obviously rely heavily on the run game to be successful.
Overall, the Chiefs have selected three former Outland Trophy winners –
Why He Doesn’t Fit: Pass blocking concerns and positional projection
Carimi’s heard criticism regarding his footwork as a pass blocker, so he attacked those weaknesses at LeCharles Bentley’s O-Line Academy. After playing in a run-heavy offense, how his pass blocking technique will transfer to the NFL level seems to be one of the primary debates.
Another debate may center on where teams plan to play him. Left tackles obviously carry higher draft day value and some respected analysts have Carimi sliding into the far-reaches of the first round.
In Kansas City, the Chiefs offensive line dramatically reduced its sack total last season paved the way for an NFL-best 164.2 rushing yards per game. Depth must be addressed, but would the team be better off bringing in a veteran tackle to compete and create depth while addressing a different position of need in the first round?
The Physical File: Carimi’s 83.25-inch wing span makes him tough to circle
Weight: 314 pounds
40-Yard Dash: 5.18 seconds (2.80 second 20-yard dash; 1.78 second 10-yard dash)
225 lb. Bench Reps: 29
Vertical Jump: 31 ½
Broad Jump: 9’01”
20-Yard Shuttle: Did not compete (ankle)
3-Cone Drill: Did not compete (ankle)
They Said It: McShay thinks Carimi will offer too much value for the Chiefs to pass upon with the 21st overall pick
“Kansas City needs a centerpiece nose tackle for its 3-4 scheme and another playmaker at wide receiver, but neither is available here. The Chiefs could trade back and try to get a player like Baylor DT Phil Taylor, but staying put would allow them to get a big upgrade at right offensive tackle in Carimi. He is a very good run-blocker and would help solidify an offensive line led by solid LT Branden Albert.
-Todd McShay, ESPN
He Said It: The Outland Trophy winner has a chip on his shoulder and believes he’s the best tackle on the board
“I think there have been a lot of people that questioned my game in certain spots, so I’m here to come out and prove that I’m a dominant left tackle and won the Outland Trophy fairly.”
-Gabe Carimi in an interview with KCChiefs.com at the Senior Bowl
"Because of the players I've gone against, four potential first-round players (Ryan Kerrigan, Adrian Clayborn, Cameron Jordan and teammate J.J. Watt) this year, I have a better résumé 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 tackles out there. That's why I'm the No. 1 tackle out there."
-Gabe Carimi at the NFL Combine