Bears select Wisconsin OL Carimi in first round


Bears select Wisconsin OL Carimi in first round

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Posted: 9:46 p.m. Updated: 11:56 p.m.

By John Mullin

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In an NFC North division marked by increasingly ferocious defensive lines, the Bears went for an answer Thursday night as they survived a run on offensive linemen and some last-minute chaos to grab Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi with the 29th pick of the 2011 draft.

The Bears chose Carimi, who declared himself the best tackle in the 2011 class, over Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod, who went 32nd to the Green Bay Packers where he will pair with Bryan Bulaga, the Packers No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft.

"I know I can play right away, Carimi declared at the NFL Scouting Combine. That's my best asset. I'm a draft-ready tackle

"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.''

Carimi, 6-7, 314 pounds, was the 2010 Outland Trophy winner as the nations best offensive lineman after starting 13 games at left tackle for the second straight season. He was the successor to Joe Thomas, a top-10 pick several years ago by the Cleveland Browns.

We feel very good with Gabe Carimi as our first-round pick, general manager Jerry Angelo said. We thought the linemen would go and every lineman went. It was a very good draft for linemen and we were fortunate to get a player like Gabe.

The Bears last selected a Wisconsin tackle in a first round when the late Jim Finks selected Dennis Lick with the eighth-overall pick of the 1976 draft to perform escort duty for Walter Payton.

Carimi arrives with experience against elite pass rushers, having faced Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn, Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan, Ohio State's Cameron Heyward and teammate J.J Watt. All were first-round picks Thursday.

Carimi, who impressed offensive line coach Mike Tice during a private workout at Wisconsin, said Clayborn was the best player he faced all last season.

I had a great feeling Id end up with the Bears, Carimi said. Im glad they have faith in me and Im willing to help the Bears in any way possible.

That already started at the Carimi household Thursday night. We converted about 100 hundred Packers fans to Bears fans, he said, laughing.

Some chaos

The Bears, who benefited from the number of quarterbacks taken in round one (four in the first 12 picks) got a handful of offers from teams wanting to trade up. But once the offensive linemen started to come off as quickly as they did, Angelo said, we thought we would stay where we were.

The Bears were attempting to deal up in order to ensure their getting Carimi but communications broke down during conversations with the Baltimore Ravens.

We did try to move up and get a deal done with a team in front of us. We were not able to get that done so we sat and we were happy with the player we got. I did apologize to Baltimore and did tell them it was our fault. We were following the rules and just ran out of time. It was a glitch on our part. But it worked out and we got the player we wanted and feel they got the player they wanted.

The fit

We loved Gabe from the start, coach Lovie Smith said. Picking as late as we did, we didnt know if wed have a chance to get him.

Smith would not commit to where Carimi will play. But the Carimi selection casts the future of Chris Williams as a starter in serious doubt. JMarcus Webb produced a rookie season good enough for coaches to be looking at him as a possible left tackle.

Carimi said that no team talked to him about playing guard, which says that the Bears do not see him inside. Williams was bumped to left guard last season after some early struggles and did not perform sufficiently for the Bears to slot him there, or at tackle, for 2011.

Williams has played left and right tackle as well as left guard and could well find himself as the swingman in the 2011 line group. Frank Omiyale was inadequate at left tackle and is expected to be moved to guard, where he played with mixed results in 2009.

Carimi comes from a system similar to what the Bears want to be. Theyre very physical, very run-oriented, Angelo said.

Smith said no decisions have been made as for which position Carimi would be assigned.

Were going to keep the options open, Smith said. But Carimi said in Indianapolis that no team had talked to him about guard.

I cant wait to get that group together and they show us exactly where they need to play, Smith said. The plan is to lock a player into a position and keep him there, and thats what well do.

What about the next Tommie Harris?

Yet to be resolved is what the Bears will do to address their need at defensive tackle. Four D-tackles were selected by No. 21 (Marcell Dareus, Nick Fairley, Corey Liuget, Phil Taylor) and Temples Muhammad Wilkerson went 30th to the New York Jets. North Carolinas Marvin Austin fell out of the first round entirely over lingering character issues.

Players to watch as the Bears turn approaches Friday at No. 30 in the second round: LSUs Drake Nevis and Miamis Allen Bailey, and possibly Terrell McClain from South Florida. Stephen Paea from Oregon State is not expected to last deep into round two.

Only Bailey (6-3) is even 6-2, making height a concern. The Bears already have shorter tackles in Anthony Adams (expected back as a free agent) and Matt Toeaina and need more than only Henry Melton (6-3 and still unproven) with interior size.

Itll be a challenge Friday, much more than it was today, Angelo said.

Draft scrambler

The Carimi pick followed some anxious minutes of confusion several picks before the Bears. The Baltimore Ravens were passed over at No. 26, reportedly because the Bears were in trade talks with them looking to move up and make their move in a shrinking lineman market.

The Kansas City Chiefs then jumped in with their pick of Pitt receiver Jonathan Baldwin. That pick, by a Chiefs team thought to be in the market for a tackle, put the Bears on the brink of their goal of making a big, in more ways than one, addition to a troubled offensive line.

Baltimore exercised its pick at No. 27 for cornerback Jimmy Smith from Colorado, New Orleans traded up to New Englands spot at No. 28 for Alabama running back Mark Ingram, and the Bears were in, making their pick almost before the celebrating was going on in the Ingram camp.

The Bears approached the draft with a pool of players they considered choices worth the 29th pick. They needed most of them after offensive linemen Anthony Castonzo, Nate Solder and Danny Watkins all went by No. 23.

A nervous time

The first nervous tremor came at No. 17 when the New England Patriots, a franchise that has consistently invested picks in its offensive line, created a mild stir when Bill Belichick went for Colorados Nate Solder, considered to be a left tackle at 6-8 and athletic.

USCs Tyron Smith already had gone No. 9 to the Dallas Cowboys, as expected, and guardcenter Mike Pouncey from Florida stayed in state when the Miami Dolphins took him at No. 15. Pouncey is not the massive blocker the Bears want to match up in their division but he projected as an eventual replacement for center Olin Kreutz.

After Solder, which left Castonzo, Carimi, Watkins and Sherrod still in the hopper, the next four teams (San Diego, the Giants, Tampa Bay, Cleveland) went defense. That left seven picks before the Bears with four quality offensive lineman available.
Tightening up

That changed abruptly when Indianapolis took Castonzo at No. 22 as a personal protector for Peyton Manning and the Philadelphia Eagles followed with Watkins to fill the same role for Michael Vick.

When No. 24 New Orleans took California defensive end Cameron Jordan, the situation was now four picks to go with Carimi and Sherrod in the board. The best part of that situation was that one of the four teams was New England (No. 28) and the Patriots already had taken Solder so werent looking for another offensive lineman.

The Seattle Seahawks then surprised most of the draft world at No. 25 by selecting massive Alabama tackle James Carpenter, not generally rated among the top tackles in the draft.

Then the chaos began with the Ravens and Chiefs shuffling and the Saints trading up to the New England spot at No. 27.

The Detroit Lions spent last offseason and draft getting better on defense in particular, with free-agent signings and selecting Ndamokung Suh with the No. 2 pick of the draft. They then added Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley to pair with Suh in what may go right past the Minnesota Vikings Williams Wall as the best defensive tackle tandem in the NFC North.

One pick before Fairley, the Minnesota Vikings addressed their quarterback issue with Christian Ponder from Florida State. GM Rick Spielman did not consider the somewhat surprising pick to be a reach and Ponder, like Cam Newton in Carolina, is such an upgrade over the incumbents that the Vikings are virtually a better team already.

The Green Bay Packers went with a tackle for the second straight year when they selected Sherrod, who projects as a starter to succeed 12-year veteran Chad Clifton.

Schedule shocks

The Bears had many reasons to watch as the 2011 draft unfolded, not all of them good.

Multiple teams on their 2011 schedule got significantly better with projected starters, such as Opening Day opponent Atlanta trading up from No. 27 to No. 6 for purposes of grabbing wide receiver Julio Jones. Something for Charles Tillman, Major Wright, Chris Harris and D.J. Moore to concern themselves with besides quarterback Matt Ryan, already a problem.

The Carolina Panthers will visit Soldier Field on Oct. 2 in game four presumably behind rookie quarterback Newton. The Panthers were horrific last year with Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen at quarterback; Newton has some developing to do but the Carolina offense was already better a little after 7 p.m. Thursday just by adding even a novice Newton.

The offensive line will have the assignment of blocking rush linebacker Von Miller after the Denver Broncos made the Texas A&M star the No. 2 pick of the draft. This will be a problem for whoever ends up as the Bears starting tackles.

The San Diego Chargers will bring a defensive front with potentially a decided Illinois flavor of No. 1 picks after selecting Illinois Corey Liuget at No. 18. Liuget will play the other end opposite 2005 No. 1 Luis Castillo from Northwestern and potentially alongside Northern Illinois Larry English, their 2009 No. 1 two years ago but who has been bothered with injuries.

John "Moon" Mullin is's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Power Rankings Roundup: People are pretty apathetic about losing to the Patriots

Power Rankings Roundup: People are pretty apathetic about losing to the Patriots

While the notion of a "good loss" is more coachspeak than anything of real substance, it looks like NFL media agree. 

After a close loss to the Patriots -- about three feet close, to be exact -- Power Rankings makers aren't blaming the Bears too much. In fact, shoutout to our mothership, Big NBC Sports, for actually *raising* the Bears in their latest rankings. Thanks guys! 

Here's what they're saying: 

Ours: #17, down 4 -
You can do worse than barely losing to the Patriots, but what on earth has happened to Chicago's defense?

NBCSports: #10, up 1 - 
Bears went toe-to-toe with the Patriots and made it to the later rounds before taking one on the chin. No shame in that. #11, N/A - 
The opportunities were there for the Bears, who took it to the Patriots in the first half Sunday. The second half was a different story, as Chicago was stuck in catch-up mode.

Washington Post: #16, down 1 - 
The Bears came up a yard shy of a tying TD on the Hail Mary against the Patriots. This was a far less egregious loss than falling to Brock Osweiler and the Dolphins a week earlier. But it was still a loss.

ESPN: #13, down 1 - 
Need more from: RB Jordan Howard. Howard is averaging only 3.46 yards per rush, which ranks 41st out of 47 qualifying running backs. Bears running backs as a whole rank 30th with 1.45 yards after contact per rush, and Mitchell Trubisky has led the team in rushing in two of the past three games.

Sports Illustrated: #18, N/A - 
The Bears were 3-1 before starting a four-game tour of the AFC East. They need to take care of business against the Jets and Bills to keep pace in a tough NFC North.

Sporting News: #16, down 1 - 
Mitchell Trubisky and the offense have become a fun, unpredictable and mostly explosive roller-coaster ride, but the defense is showing it has plenty of leaks behind Khalil Mack.

FanSided: #17, down 2 - 
Mitchell Trubisky and those special teams were a disaster on Sunday.

Bleacher Report: #15, N/A - 
The problem is the Bears also have five tough divisional games remaining, including two with the Vikings. A date with the Rams also looms. However, if the Bears take care of business in the first four games mentioned, they will need to go just 3-3 in their remaining six matchups to go 10-6 and (presumably) make the playoffs.

Fantasy Football: 15 players to target on your waiver wire


Fantasy Football: 15 players to target on your waiver wire

We've crossed the halfway mark in the regular season for most Fantasy Football leagues, so it's officially crunch time.

As we get ready to make a push for the stretch run and with Bye Weeks in full gear, the waiver wire has never been more important in 2018.

If Nick Chubb is available in your league still, change that immediately. But considering he should've been scooped up in every league after Carlos Hyde was traded away from Cleveland Friday, we're more focused on guys who should be available and worth spending your free agent budget on.

Here are 15 guys worth targeting on the waiver wire:

1. Kenjon Barner, RB, NE

It appears Sony Michel has avoided serious injury, but he still will probably miss at least Week 8 and possibly longer. James White will see a larger role without Michel, but Barner suddenly goes from a guy not even worth sniffing at in Fantasy to a must-own. As soon as Michel left the game, Barner entered and tallied 10 rushes against the Bears defense. If you're desperate for a running back in Week 8, Barner might be a good add as he has a fantastic matchup against a Bills defense that just allowed 219 rushing yards to the Colts.

2. Chris Ivory, RB, BUF

LeSean McCoy was forced to leave the Week 7 contest with a concussion, opening the door for a decent game for Ivory (126 total yards on 19 touches). If McCoy continues to miss time, Ivory is the clear beneficiary, though it's not a great matchup in Week 8 against the Pats.

3. Danny Amendola, WR, MIA

It's been a while since Amendola was anything more than a tease in Fantasy Football, but the soon-to-be-33-year-old has had back-to-back good games while building a good rapport with Brock Osweiler. Amendola has hauled in 143 yards and a tuddie on 14 catches (18 targets) the last two weeks and while he is banged up, he practiced in a limited capacity Monday. If he can suit up Thursday, he should be the Dolphins' top target as both Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson are expected to miss that contest with their own injuries.

4. Raheem Mostert, RB, SF

Matt Breida and Alfred Morris owners must hate this guy, but Mostert has emerged from complete irrelevance to lead the Niners backfield the last two weeks. The 26-year-old has 23 touches the last two games while Morris has tallied just 9 touches (all in Week 7) and Breida has racked up 19 touches as he works through a bunch of injuries, including an ankle issue. It will be tough to predict how this situation will play out this week, but Mostert has been the only Niners back worth starting recently and this group of RBs now has the best matchup of the week against the woeful Cardinals defense. Mostert at least deserves to be owned, even if you're not comfortable starting him at the moment.

5/6. Jalen Richard/Doug Martin, RB, OAK

With Marshawn Lynch on IR, Richard and Martin should be owned in all formats just for the sheer possibility of a heavy workload. However, both are questionable Fantasy starts for Week 8 — even coming off a Bye. Richard should be the call in PPR leagues while Martin figures to eat up most of Lynch's carries. 

7. Tyrell Williams, WR, LAC

Williams is owned in hardly any league, but he's racked up 236 receiving yards and 3 TDs the last two weeks. He's not getting a heavy workload (only 8 targets in that span), but the Chargers love throwing deep to this guy and it's paid off in back-to-back weeks. Williams isn't close to being a safe bet as his value is completely contigent upon whether he catchs a deep bomb or not, but you could do a lot worse in your Fantasy lineups.

8. Martavis Bryant, WR, OAK

With Amari Cooper now in Dallas, somebody's gotta catch balls for Jon Gruden's Raiders. There's no guarantee that's Bryant, but he's slated to start Week 8 and he has the talent and resume to be at least a servicable Fantasy player the rest of the season.

9. Donte Moncrief, WR, JAC

The good: In 3 of the last 4 weeks, Moncrief has tallied at least 5 catches and 76 yards. The bad: In the other week during that stretch, he did not record a single catch on 3 targets. So there's clearly some risk here, especially considering the state of the Jags passing offense and QB situation. But Moncrief may be worth a pickup and start in Week 8 if you're desperate, as the Eagles have given up some of the most Fantasy points to opposing WRs. 

10. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, BUF

Benjamin was drafted in most leagues but was unable to post as many as 10 Fantasy points in even full-point PPR leagues until Week 7, and that was a modest 11-point total. Nobody blames you if you've given up on Benjamin, but he finally topped 3 catches and 50 yards in Week 7 and has a rapport with Derek Anderson from their time in Carolina. 

11. Trenton Cannon, RB, NYJ

Who? Cannon is owned in 0.0 percent of Fantasy leagues, which makes sense given he had a grand total of 2 Fantasy points entering Week 7. But when Bilal Powell left the game with a neck injury, it was Cannon that stepped up with 69 receiving yards on 4 catches while Isaiah Crowell still handled rushing duties. If Powell misses time in Week 8 or beyond (neck issues are no joke), Cannon is the main beneficiary in the passing game and should be rostered in all PPR leagues.

12. Chris Herndon, TE, NYJ

The Jets' fourth-round pick from this spring is another no-name in the Fantasy world, but that's quickly changing after back-to-back weeks with a TD. Herndon has clearly become the top tight end for fellow rookie Sam Darnold, seeing 7 targets last week and hauling in 4 of those catches for 42 yards. If you're desperate for a TE or you're in a dynasty league, target Herndon now. 

13. DeVante Parker, WR, MIA

Parker has been worth absolutely nothing in Fantasy this year, finding his way out of the lineup on a weekly basis. But he's worth a speculative add in case he's traded by next week — like he wants — and he also receives a boost for Week 8 by default, as the other Dolphins wideouts are all banged up and Parker essentially has to play.

14. Jakeem Grant, WR, MIA

Notice a trend here? We're all-in on South Beach receivers this week. Same logic applies because of injuries to Stills and Wilson, but obviously all of Parker, Grant and Amendola will not be worth a Fantasy start in Week 8. This is still Osweiler and the Dolphins we're talking about. But Grant is fun with his gamechanging speed and has at least contributed in every single week of the season so far even before he's become an increased part of the gameplan, so his floor isn't "0" like Parker's or some of the other WR options on the market.

15. Colts D/ST

We can't end this without a defense/special teams unit, right? The Colts gave up at least 31 points for 3 straight games from Week 4 through 6, but they absolutely dominated the Bills last week and now draw a Raiders team that just lost its two best offensive playmakers over the last 10 days. There is no better D/ST to stream out there than the Colts, and they're available in more than half of leagues.

Bonus: Rishard Matthews, WR, NYJ

Matthews is reportedly signing with the Jets, who need some WR help. Matthews quit on the Titans earlier this season after they completely went away from him in the gameplan, but this is a guy that racked up 1,740 yards and 13 TDs from 2016-17. He's worth an add in all leagues just for the potential.