Former MG standout likely headed to NFL

By Charlie Kojis/Eagle Post staff

Gabe Carimi, former Monona Grove and current University of Wisconsin standout, will soon be making the much-anticipated leap from college to the NFL.

Carimi was recently honored as one of the three finalists for the Outland Trophy, which is given to the most outstanding lineman in the country. The American Football Coaches Association awarded Carimi All-America honors. He also earned a spot an All-Big Ten Academic team.

While saying where Carimi will go on draft day, six months from now, is about as accurate as predicting that day’s weather, mock drafts have the offensive tackle coming off the board in the late first or early second round. His 6-foot-seven size and mauling strength in the running game make him one of the top prospects at his position.

“Gifted tackles like Gabe don’t come around often,” said ESPN writer Jason Wilde. “While I don’t think he’s as good as Joe Thomas, he’s certainly a very good player.”

Carimi took over at left tackle for Thomas after the Cleveland Browns selected him third overall in the 2007 NFL Draft. Today, Thomas is widely considered to be the best tackle currently playing in the NFL. Wisconsin’s reputation as a powerhouse for offensive linemen should only help Carimi.

“My biggest concern is his ability to handle speed off the edge,” said draft expert and owner of draftcountdown.com Scot Wright, “which is why I feel he will have to be a right tackle in the pros.”

Carimi, will have to convince scouts that he has the quickness needed to handle speed rushers. If Carimi can follow up a strong senior season with a good showing at the NFL’s scouting combine, he may be able to raise his status to a mid-first round pick. Drills such as the 40-yard-dash and cone-drills could go a long way in determining where he goes.

“I see Carimi as more of a second or third rounder, although I certainly wouldn’t rule out him slipping into the latter part of Round One,” said Wright. “Either way Carimi seems to be a guy there is a wide range of opinions on.”

The idea of Carimi staying in Wisconsin and playing for the Green Bay Packers seems to be a realistic one at this point. The Packers have last year’s first round pick Bryan Bulaga penciled in as the future left tackle, but may still have a hole to fill at right tackle, with former Wisconsin tackle Mark Tauscher’s career likely over.

“You can never have too many good offensive linemen, so there’s always a need,” said Wilde. “Carimi is a terrific prospect and they could certainly use him. Not sure where he’ll be drafted at this point, but I’m guessing he’ll be a pretty high pick.”

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