Posted: 10:00 am Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Why has Gabe Carimi been a bust so far? 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

New Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice must think he can salvage the career of his former pupil Gabe Carimi, who's been with two teams already after being drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft.   (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

New Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice must think he can salvage the career of his former pupil Gabe Carimi, who’s been with two teams already after being drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Gabe Carimi was thought to be the next great tackle out of Wisconsin.

Some NFL personnel men thought he was going to follow in the huge footsteps of Cleveland Browns great Joe Thomas and anchor the left side of the Chicago Bears line for 10 years.

But in the microwave era, where teams just work with players for what seems like a couple of minutes and then run them out on the field, Carimi’s career hasn’t been able to gain traction.

In the old days, he would have been allowed to develop. But the Bears and the Buccaneers have not been able to get Carimi up to speed over three seasons.

The Falcons and new assistant coach Mike Tice will now get the chance to salvage some of Carimi’s potential.

In The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Special report –  A nine-part series previewing the 2011 NFL draft, we were high on Carimi, too.

Top 10 offensive linemen in the NFL draft

1. Anthony Castonzo, Boston College, 6-foot-7, 311 pounds: He made a school-record 54 consecutive starts for the Eagles. He is considered an elite pass protector who will need to get more push as a run blocker at the pro level.

2. Nate Solder, Colorado, 6-8, 318: He was the Big 12’s offensive lineman of the year and a finalist for the Outland Trophy. He had 142 pancake blocks last season and received a 94 percent grade from the coaching staff.

3. Tyron Smith, USC, 6-5, 307: He was named the Pac-10’s top offensive lineman after starting 12 games at right tackle. Some consider him the best athlete of the tackle group.

4. Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin; 6-7, 316: He was an All-American and winner of the Outland Trophy, which goes to the nation’s top offensive lineman. He keyed the Badgers’ power running attack with bone-rattling blocks. He’s the classic road grader.

Here’s what Ourlads’ National Scouting Service had to say about the Bears landing Carimi with the 29th pick of the 2011 draft.

The Bears accomplished one goal and filled a logical need by drafting left tackle Gabe Carimi. Carimi was projected to be drafted earlier than pick 29, but with all the quarterbacks and defensive linemen being selected, the rangy tackle fell into Chicago’s lap.

The sky was supposed to be the limit for Carimi.

Gabe Carimi was a four-year starter at Wisconsin where he won the Outland Trophy last season as the nation’s best interior lineman. He has the coveted long arms and big hands for the left tackle position and will compete with Frank Omiyale. The rangy tackle played toe to toe against several of the top first round pass rushers over the past two years. Week after week he saw the likes of Brandon Graham, Adrian Clayborn, Cameron Heyward, and Ryan Kerrigan. In practice he got a workout from first rounder, JJ Watt.

My main man and Hall of Famer Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel was the first to point out that Carimi wasn’t a left tackle and that he might struggle in the NFL.

In February, Carimi proclaimed himself the No. 1 tackle in the draft, saying, “I’m physically stronger and have more career starts and better knowledge of the game than any other tackle out there.”

But with the National Football League draft less than a week away, the consensus of teams is Carimi ranks No. 4 on the list of tackles and won’t have a successful career if he remains at the left-tackle position that he manned the past four seasons for the Badgers.

That isn’t to suggest personnel people don’t think Carimi will be a good player. They do, but many say it will be on the right side.

“He probably ends up being a right tackle in this league, or at least that’s where you project him,” said Bill Polian, vice chairman of the Indianapolis Colts. “But he’s a good, solid football player. He’s a hardworking, blue-collar, knock ‘em around guy. Run blocking is his strong suit.”

This month, a cross-section of 25 scouts, almost all with national orientation, was asked by the Journal Sentinel if Carimi would be successful at left tackle. Fourteen said no, 11 said yes.

“No way. No way,” an NFC personnel director said. “I can’t understand the love. He’s slow-footed. He’s not powerful for a guy his size. He’s on the ground all the time. I just don’t see it. I know some people will try to compare the two, but (Bryan) Bulaga was a lot better.”

What has happened?

Knee problems that dogged Carimi in college followed him to the pros. He dislocated his knee cap in his second NFL game. According to some reports, the player some called the “The Jewish Hammer” had trouble anchoring and was pushed around as rookie. (The Falcons should have seen enough of that last season!)

Then he rubbed the new regime the wrong way by staying away from OTAs to get his knee healthy. He was quickly shown the door and traded for a sixth-round pick.

He got a second shot in Tampa Bay, but couldn’t hold down the left guard spot after Carl Nicks went down with a MRSA infection. He was basically insurance last season.

He was cut by new Bucs coach Lovie Smith, who had him seen enough of Carimi as his head coach in 2011 and 2012 in Chicago.

Maybe Tice and the Falcons can salvage his career at right tackle. If they can’t, this may be Carimi’s last stop on the NFL train.

45 comments
EScott1028
EScott1028

Calm down guys. This was never intended to be a franchise saving pick up. This looks like purely a depth move. His strength is run blocking and playing on the right side, but he's been mostly forced to the left side. Tice likely knows this and plans to plug him in when and where he can be successful. Plus it helps to have a guy on the line thats familiar with your coaching style.

Really666
Really666

I would have to say the scheme is different from what he played in college. Now lets go release DeCoud, Osi, and Jackson and lets sign  DE Michael Johnson, DT Paul Soliai, FS Malcolm Jenkins and OL Rodger Safford.  Draft  1st DE Clowney, 2nd TE Seferian Jenkins and 3rd RB Lache Seastrunk

DisgustedFan
DisgustedFan

The Falcons are used to busts at offensive tackle -- look at Sam Baker & Lamar Holmes. 


Carmini shoud fit right in -- poor Matty Ice he deserves better. 

traderjoe9
traderjoe9


Someone needs to put on their thinking cap and ask if this hope and prayer of a player is really what Smitty and TD need to save their jobs after this season. When you hear the words, slow, on-the-ground all the time, weak for his size, knee problems to describe a guy you just hired to fix an area of biggest need, you have to wonder about the guy you just hired as OL coach. Are those the adjectives of a player you want to get you to the super bowl? Blank, wake up! Look at what your guys are doing to ya.

FalconJames
FalconJames

When someone is fired by Lovie Smith, TWICE, you have to think to yourself "Maybe there are better prospects out there".  Carimi must have one heck of an agent because I would not have brought this guy in to wash jock straps. He is our right side version of Sam Baker. Who does Dimitroff take advice from? That'ts the guy we should be firing.

Old_Man
Old_Man

In reverse order, here are the top 20 QBs of 2013, per Bleacher Report:


20. Ryan Tannehill

19. Andy Dalton

18. Mike Glennon

17. Matthew Stafford

16. Sam Bradford

15. Alex Smith

14. Nick Foles

13. Colin Kaepernick

12. Tony Romo

11. Jay Cutler

10. Ben Roethlisberger

9. Matt Ryan

8. Cam Newton

7. Andrew Luck

6. Drew Brees

5. Tom Brady

4. Aaron Rodgers

3. Russell Wilson

2. Philip Rivers

1. Peyton Manning

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

Falcan'ts do as falcan'ts are: Busts.

LeftisnotRight
LeftisnotRight

Linemen, linemen, linemen..........it's a start I guess....

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

re:

3. Tyron Smith, USC, 6-5, 307: He was named the Pac-10′s top offensive lineman after starting 12 games at right tackle. Some consider him the best athlete of the tackle group.

========================

At this point the guy that is clearly the best OT so far (T.Smith) was the guy that was the best pure athlete when they were coming out of College.

The same goes for this year's draft, the OT out of Aubie is clearly a better pure Athlete than Jake Matthews.

For this reason the Falcons should draft Greg Robinson out of Auburn instead of Matthews out of TAMU.

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

This is so funy that Tommy Dummytroff cant wait 4 this years fist round draft bust so he go N get anoter teams fist round bust! LOLOLOLO!!!!!


U can garuantee that if Dummytroff sighed him he will be a bus a gain! Mark my wrods!

wima13
wima13

I'm excited and I hope he does well. He has nothing but upside! I wonder if he'll play Tackle or Guard?

Hal9k
Hal9k

What did he sign for?  That answers the question of whether this is worthy.  If its for the minimum or low salary where we can cut him without too much of a cap hit if it doesn't work out, its worth taking a flyer on the guy.  If there is any sort of financial commitment to him beyond that, then this will be scrutinized more. 

Dasdguy
Dasdguy

Knee problems....hmm...may be why he's slow footed and lacks power. Keep looking TD.

Dman
Dman

No wonder Tampa cut him. He had already played for Lovie so Lovie didn't want to give a guy a second chance after cutting him before. That would make Lovie look like he didn't know what he was doing. This guy will have a chip on his shoulder. Let's hope it pays off. He is certainly worth a tryout...

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Old_man......They're nuts concerning Rivers. No way he's the #2 QB in the League.

1. Rodgers

2. Brady

3. Brees

4. Luck

5. Wilson

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

@MikeBanning  Isnt that whyt they said abut Carminini? Look where he is now after bein a fist round pix on the lowely Flacons. 


Better draft Johnny Fottball

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

I'm leaning Robinson over Matthews, although if I were to be given assurances Jake would be another Bruce, then I'd take the bloodlines!!

Bruce Matthews was an All-Timer.

I'd still take Mack over either.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Sort of.......minus the 25 million & LaStarya!!

Tess....you should check out Edwards lady friend from Atlanta. :)

JSSN
JSSN

@wima13

Carimi  has shown he has plenty of downside left too!

notPlanB
notPlanB

I'm guessing guard since his position is tackle. MS likes to play them out of position.

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

@wima13  Dude this is the Nfl and the up side of an total Bust is not good e nuff 4 the Nfl. This looser prolly culd not even paly in the area legaue

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

He signed for too much!!!

Why, you ask?....b/c he sucks at football.

Once he's whacked, you can add another ~$350,000.00 to Hair-Gel's growing pot of "Dead Cap Money".

That money could be used more wisely......for someone who can actually play football.

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

@DASDGUY  U tell him 2 kept lookin but if he do U no he will just fine anoter looser total bust. 

JSSN
JSSN

@Dman  

Dude, stop talking out of both sides of your mouth! If getting cut made everyone viable Trueblood should have blown the doors off! Lovie Smith knows he has to win! Carimi is not going to make his line stable. SMDH!

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

@BigCrimson75  Im leanning on Johnny Fottball. this is the only way I see the Flacons gettin out of the rutt Dummytroff had palced themin. 

Dasdguy
Dasdguy

@tess.

Don't do it bud... she's all about the bling.

HonestInformed
HonestInformed

@BigCrimson75 Ignorant & ultra-biased is really a miserable way to live your lives (this comment is aimed at both Big Crimson75 & Tea-Party-Meber)........only the Highest 53 players count against the salary cap; therefore, any minimum salary players can be signed and cut with absolutely zero impact on the salary cap.


There is NO WAY Tea-Party-Meber is actually a true Tea Party Member.......he has proven without any doubt he is not intelligent enough to be a Tea Party Member (appears to be another poser trying to make the Tea Party look bad). Grow up and do a little research before you spout nonsense. 

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@BigCrimson75  

The Falcons have so much re-building to do on the OL, they are hoping that they can take a guy off the scrap-heap that is young and revitalize him and get a starter at a discount.

"Hair-Gel's" horrible drafting has put the Falcons in a position of extreme desperation, which is why you see moves like this.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Tess.....Forget Johnny Screwball.

The big time QB's are coming next year.

Famous Jameis, Huntley from ucla, Bryce Petty, Marcus Marriotta, Hogan from Stanford.

If the Falcons flounder again next year & it's become obvious Matty Ice must go, then we strike next year for a young QB.

The falcons won't have any problems dumping Ice & his contract on another team.

JSSN
JSSN

@HonestInformed @BigCrimson75  

When any player is cut or removed from the roster, their number is calculated against the Cap if their contract is approved by the League and is not a "make good deal." That is why you still had Tatupu "dead money" number still on the books in 2013.. The 53 man cap number is a trade off between NFL and NFLPA to give teams some ledger book flexibility. It is not a denial of the final ledger number when players are cut. Come March 8th, players like Carimi will count against the Cap because your UFAs are no longer capable of being in contract talks with their old team until after August thus he'll one of your 53 and if cut, his signing numbers will be applied. That is why we all talk so much about the League Fiscal Year!

I.E. 2013 Cap Numbers

All of those little veteran cuts and undrafted UFAs added up to $2M in cap dead money, think what a smart front office could have done with that money.

Be careful when you throw around calling folks out

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Ignorant & ultra-biased is really a miserable way to live your lives

-----

Hahahaha.

I couldn't agree more pal.

When was the last time you checked the Falcons roster?

We've currently got about 20-25 under contract making in essence the bare minimum ---- either 480k or 405k per.

Btw, those figures start at about player #35 on the roster. :(

-----

As for Tess & the Tea Party.......He likes to quote the Bible. He's on record against gay athletes. That should be enough to get at least a white hood...sorry, excuse me an invite to one of your gatherings.

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@BigCrimson75  

I'd draft either one too, but I'd wait until the 3rd-4th round, one of those guys should fall to that level and if they don't pan out you've got a great class of RBs for the next year coming up.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Tess.....I'd rather draft Tre Mason or maybe that kid from Zona then run Stephen Jackson outta here!

JSSN
JSSN

@knudegard1

Your swipes, SMDH! You mean you finally choose to listen!