There is a pretty good group of first-round-caliber tackles in this draft, and the Patriots are in the midst of a transition period on their offensive line, which could cause them to get aggressive with the position.
Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi is among that top crop of tackles, and he could be on the Patriots’ radar in the middle of the first round.
The 6-foot-7, 314-pounder started 49 career games at left tackle, and he was the recipient of the 2010 Outland Trophy, which is given to the nation’s best lineman.
Why the Patriots Would Want Him
Carimi has monstrous size, and he has excelled for an always-tough Wisconsin offensive line. He’s got a tremendous amount of confidence in his ability, and he has the potential to be a franchise-caliber left tackle in the NFL.
Why the Patriots Might Stay Away
Carimi is one of the three best tackles in the draft class, though his exact placement in that order is up for debate. The Patriots will have a good chance to take the third tackle off the board at No. 17, but if teams ahead of them believe Carimi is a top-two tackle, he won’t make it to New England. In that case, the Patriots would have to trade up to take him, and they might not be willing to do that.
And due to the uncertainty of Matt Light‘s situation, the Patriots must view Carimi as a guy who can play both tackle positions. If they don’t think he can play on the right side, he probably wouldn’t be a great fit for Bill Belichick.
Potential Impact in 2011
This would depend on Light’s status. If Light returns, he’ll start at left tackle, and Sebastian Vollmer will start at right tackle, with Carimi coming off the bench. But if the Patriots don’t re-sign Light, Carimi and Vollmer will be the starters. Vollmer would likely play on the left in that scenario.
What The Locals Are Saying
Carimi has worked to show he can pass block just as well as he can run block.
Where Can the Patriots Expect to Draft Carimi?
It’s possible, though unlikely, Carimi could slide to New England at No. 17. If the Cowboys (No. 9) and Lions (No. 13) take tackles, Carimi could be heading to Detroit. The Dolphins (No. 15) are also a candidate to take a tackle, so that will be the Patriots’ competition. If they really want Carimi, they’ll have to watch what the Cowboys do and then trade up a few spots from there.
Every day through April 28, NESN.com will spotlight one player the Patriots could draft with one of their first three picks.
Friday, April 1: California defensive end Cameron Jordan
Saturday, April 2: North Carolina defensive end/outside linebacker Robert Quinn
Sunday, April 3: Ohio State defensive lineman Cameron Heyward
Monday, April 4: Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones
Tuesday, April 5: Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara
Wednesday, April 6: Alabama running back Mark Ingram
Thursday, April 7: Boston College tackle Anthony Castonzo
Friday, April 8: Florida interior lineman Mike Pouncey
Sunday, April 10: Georgia defensive end/outside linebacker Justin Houston