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.

Why 'Turbo' Taylor Gabriel fell in love with the slow-paced game of golf

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USA Today

Why 'Turbo' Taylor Gabriel fell in love with the slow-paced game of golf

Plenty of NFL players will use the league’s mandated five-week summer break to play a little golf as a way to relax and recharge for the grind of training camp and regular season. But you won’t find many players who take golf more seriously than Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel. 

Which is a little ironic on the surface, right? Gabriel’s nickname is “Turbo,” after all. 

“Yeah, that’s very weird when I think about it,” Gabriel laughed. “It’s not a sport to where you’re running and jumping, and I wouldn’t say not doing anything really athletic — it’s more mental than anything. 

“But I feel like it kind of helps me football-wise in the sense of kind of focus. Like dialing in on that swing, keeping that same swing rhythm pattern, not getting too frustrated after I just sliced a drive or go O.B. on the driver. So it’s helping me.”

Gabriel had played sporadically earlier in his life, and said his father golfs, but didn’t get hooked by the sport until last April while watching Tiger Woods win the Masters. He bought his first set of nice clubs after that remarkable weekend in Augusta and frequently posts videos of his swing to his Instagram account.  

So it’s become a serious hobby of his — “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t practice,” he said. It’s also something he and his wife do together. 

Though he admitted his wife is a better golfer than he is. 

“She’s not trying to crush the ball, she’s not trying to do too much, but she keeps that consistent same rhythm, same swing, same follow-through every time,” Gabriel said. “Me, I might see the hole is probably 180 (yards) out, I mean, I just want to crush it on the green. And that’s when everything goes wrong.”

Still, for someone who’s only been seriously golfing for about two months, that Gabriel said he can consistently hit his drives 240 yards is rather impressive (being an exceptional athlete, certainly, has to help). But this isn’t some casual love affair with golf — it’s a legitimate way for Gabriel to take his mind off football while staying sharp mentally and doing something he’s quickly grown to genuinely enjoy doing. 

“It’s relaxing, just playing 18 holes — I’m a walker, I like walking,” Gabriel said. “Eighteen holes kind of figuring out your swing, what you did wrong, you know what I mean, just being on the golf course, relaxing, the atmosphere. But at the end of the day I’ve been doing pretty good. I’ve been hitting them pretty straight, I’ve been putting them pretty good, so I guess I’m catching on quick. 

“But every time I ask a golfer, I mean, how long did it take for you guys to get a consistent swing, they say 20 years. I mean, I got that to look forward to.”  

Pro Football Focus: Khalil Mack is NFL’s most valuable edge rusher

Pro Football Focus: Khalil Mack is NFL’s most valuable edge rusher

It didn’t take the Bears long to see how valuable Khalil Mack is to their defense, elevating the group from the moment he first stepped on the field.

He’s been among the league’s best outside linebackers since he first broke out in 2015, and the analytics back up the eye test.

He was the highest edge defender on Pro Football Focus’ list of the top 50 players in the NFL, and their “wins above replacement” metric shows why.

It’s Mack and Von Miller, then everyone else.

“Foremost, Mack is a slightly more complete player than Miller when it comes to defending the run,” PFF’s Ben Linsey wrote. “Yes, run defense is significantly less important than an edge rusher’s ability to disrupt the quarterback, but with so little difference between the players, everything gets put under the magnifying glass.”

Over the past four seasons, both players have exactly 49 sacks, although Mack missed two games over that span. The Bears outside linebacker has the edge in interceptions, forced fumbles and tackles for loss, most coming with a lower quality defense around him than what Miller has had in Denver.

It’s no surprise Ryan Pace was willing to trade multiple first-round picks to make Mack the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. He’s the best in the league.

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