Bears

Gabe Carimi draft capsule

Gabe Carimi draft capsule

Gabe Carimi, Offensive Lineman
Height: 6-7 Weight: 314 College: Wisconsin

What they say about Carimi

CBSSports.com

Overview
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."

Analysis
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.

Pullingtrapping: 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.

National Football Post

Carimi might not be the be the most athletic tackle in this draft but when its all said and done he may be the best overall tackle. Gabe is a 5th year senior. He redshirted his freshman year but then became a four-year starter at left tackle, starting a total of 49 games.One thing that helps Carimi is that he has played in a pro-style offense his whole career. He plays mostly from a 3-point stance but at times will play from a 2-point. He has a comfortable stance with his feet flat and his butt low. He has very good snap reaction and initial quickness. As a run blocker he gets into his block quickly and shows explosive snap on contact. He has a natural hip roll and he is always driving his feet. He is very physical and aggressive as a run blocker and consistently looks to finish. He has the athleticism to play in space and make blocks at the second level. He does a good job adjusting to movement and always takes good angles.In pass protection he is able to set quickly and is efficient cutting off wide speed. He has a strong punch and is consistent with keeping his hands inside. Carimi has good natural bend and is excellent when taking on bull rushers. He shows good mirror ability versus counter moves with his quick feet and ability to redirect. He has very good awareness and patience and wont get fooled when his opponents try different blitzes.Overall, there are some tackles in this draft that have a little better athleticism and may pass protect a little better but no one has the combination of run blocking, pass protection and nastiness as Carimi. Tyron Smith is the most talented tackle in this class but in my view Carimi is next. I love his game day demeanor and his overall focus. This player is going to be a very steady NFL tackle and play for a long time.WalterFootball
Strengths: Excellent run blocker Powerful Heavy hands Tenacious Very good size, strength and bulk Good straight-line athlete Intelligent; doesn't miss assignments Flashes an impressive play every so often in pass pro Quick in getting to the second level Adequate in pass protection to play RT at next level

Weaknesses:
Bends at waist too much - not a natural knee bender Lacks agility Not a smooth athlete - a little stiff Poor footwork On the ground a lot - gets unbalanced Struggles in space Lacks kneeankle flexion Hands need work Lets linemen get in his pads Very raw - relies heavily on sizestrength
Summary: Carimi will play in the NFL for some team and start at right tackle. He is byno means a left tackle and I will be shocked if he is drafted in the first round next year. Carimi has size and he is a powerful run blocker, but lacks the athleticism, technique andconsistency for him to be even discussed as a first-round talent. I think he is a second- or third-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, and I currently have a third-round grade on Carimi.

Player Comparison: Jeremy Trueblood: Trueblood and Carimi both have similar body types andare punishing run blockers. However, Trueblood is just a solid starter at right tackle for Tampa Bay, and I think that is the most we can hope for out of Carimi in the NFL.

Sideline Scouting

Positives: Good athlete... Very solid pass protector... Ideal size with long arms... Very good strength... Reasonably good anchoring strength, holds up to bull rushers well... Reasonably good lateral movement and slide... Good position blocker, takes good angles... Stays on his blocks, works to finish, adjusts reasonably well... Does a nice job staying in front of defender... Uses his hands well, good forceful punch... Can control and manhandle defender once locked on... Good upper body strength... Good power... Very good run blocker... Very solid drive blocker... Gets off the line reasonably quick and with good explosion... Can open holes in the running game... Can get to the second level, can seal linebackers from the action... Breaks down reasonably well in space... Does a nice job hitting moving targets... Tough, possesses a mean streak... Confident... Will be an early starter at Right Tackle in the NFL.

Negatives: Inconsistent footwork in pass protection... Can be beat by speed... Bends at the waist, leans, reaches and lunges versus outside speed... Needs to work on establishing an anchor and maintaining his balance better... Will stop his feet on contact in pass protection... Doesn't always re-direct smoothly, especially on inside counter moves... Lateral footwork can get too long... Inconsistent kick step, either gets too wide or goes with heavy short steps... Has trouble on inside counter-moves... Gets too upright in pass protection, allows defenders under his pads, loses some battles for leverage... While not bad, he does struggle a little to stay low when firing off the ball when run blocking, allows his body to get ahead of his feet... Gets a little too narrow when run blocking... Doesn't always get great movement in the running game... Some medicaldurability issues concerning his knee.

Three questions for Bears ILBs: What kind of an impact will Roquan Smith make?

Three questions for Bears ILBs: What kind of an impact will Roquan Smith make?

Pre-camp depth chart

1. Danny Trevathan
2. John Timu
3. Joel Iyiegbuniwe

1. Roquan Smith
2. Nick Kwiatkoski
3. Jonathan Anderson

1. How good can Roquan Smith be?

Making sweeping observations from shorts-and-helmets practices in OTAs is often a fool’s errand, but Smith looked the part while running around the practice fields of Halas Hall after being drafted in April. His quickness and instinctiveness stood out — as they did at Georgia — and his football intelligence and work ethic were praised by coaches and teammates. 

“He’s learning well,” Trevathan said. “He’s doing a good job of learning. He’s learning the little things that you need to learn in this defense. Now it’s all about putting on a show and going out there and rocking.”

And that’s what’s going to be fun to watch in Bourbonnais: How does Smith play with the pads on? Chances are, the answer to that question will be “well,” setting the eighth overall pick on a path to being a mainstay of this defense for years to come. 

That’s not to say Smith doesn’t have plenty on which to work during training camp. But he left Georgia as a sort of “safe bet” in the draft, and nothing he’s done to this point has changed the view of him that he’s likely going to be a good one. 

2. Can Danny Trevathan stay healthy?

In terms of size and athleticism, Trevathan and Smith profile similar to NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis, the inside linebacking tandem that was the spine of the San Francisco 49ers defense during Fangio’s time there. But for Trevathan and Smith to reach that lofty bar — or even to come close to it — Trevathan needs to be more available than he was his first two years with the Bears.

This isn’t questioning Trevathan’s toughness — far from it. That he returned for Week 1 of the 2017 season 10 months after rupturing his patellar tending (an injury that can be a career-ender) was impressive, and that he was immediately productive upon returning was even more extraordinary. But Trevathan missed three games in November due to a strained calf, and coupled with a one-game suspension and the seven games he missed in 2016, the 28-year-old has only played in 21 of 32 games since signing with the Bears. 

Trevathan is confident he can improve his production in 2018, given he wasn’t able to participate in last year’s offseason program practices. He’s entering his third year in Fangio’s defense and feels better prepared after going through OTAs and minicamps this year. It’s just now about him staying on the field to make sure that work pays off.

“I’m more comfortable with this defense, I’m more comfortable with the guys and the calls that we make,” Trevathan said. “I take pride in being correct and working my tail off and making the defense better. And the more that I can be out there — which I plan on being out there a lot — it’s going to help us tremendously.” 

3. How big a role will Nick Kwiatkoski have?

The Bears didn’t draft Smith because they felt like they absolutely needed to upgrade over Kwiatkoski, who’s acquitted himself well in 25 games since being picked in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. But Kwiatkoski has dealt with some injury issues, and for as solid a player as he may be, the Bears’ defense needed (and still needs) more great players. Drafting Smith gave the Bears a shot at adding a great player.

It also leaves Kwiatkoski in the same spot he was in a year ago, when the Bears entered the 2017 season with Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman as their unquestioned starting inside linebackers. Smith still has to earn that starting spot, but the safe bet is he will, relegating Kwiatkoski again to reserve duties.

And that’s a positive for the overall health of this defense, having a player good enough to start ready to play if needed. But it also raises this question: What do the Bears do with Kwiatkoski if he’s one of their four best linebackers, but isn’t one of their two best inside linebackers? 

So for the purposes of watching training camp practices, seeing if Kwiatkoski gets any reps at outside linebacker will be an interesting storyline to follow. 

Bears shutout in poll of NFL's best starters under 25

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USA Today

Bears shutout in poll of NFL's best starters under 25

Maybe this is what happens when a team is coming off a 5-11 season and has won only 14 games over three years. Maybe it's just another example of the Chicago Bears being overlooked and underrated. Regardless of the 'why,' a recent poll of NFL experts has provided more fuel for the Bears in 2018.

ESPN's Field Yates asked 43 insiders and former players for their list of the top under-25-year-old starters in the NFL and not a single Chicago Bear made the cut.

No Jordan Howard. No Mitchell Trubisky. No Allen Robinson.

Not a single Bear.

The most shocking omission is Howard, who finished second in the NFL in rushing in 2016 and sixth last year despite facing defenses that focused their entire game plan on stopping him every single week. At only 23 years old, he's clearly one of the top young running backs in the NFL and warranted a spot on this list. 

Instead, the Rams' Todd Gurley, Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott and Giants rookie Saquon Barkley got the nod.

Howard has more rushing yards than Gurley over the last two seasons and trails Elliott by only 179. Barkley has yet to take a snap in the NFL.

The Bears were recently named the most underrated team in the league heading into 2018 and this is just another piece of evidence justifying that claim. A winning season will change the national perception of players like Howard, who with another year of high-end production should find himself at or near the top of many of these lists next offseason.