I recently completed my 2010 Offensive Line Grades for Dallas, and the results weren’t pretty. Although I do think Doug Free is the most talented lineman on the team, Kyle Kosier ended up with the highest grade. Still, it was only a B (86.2 percent).
Marc Colombo’s 63 percent, however, was the worst grade I've ever given a player. If the Cowboys don’t upgrade the right tackle spot this offseason, they deserve another playoff absence in 2011. Colombo yielded a ridiculous nine sacks, 11 quarterback hits and 40 pressures in 2010.
I already dissected the game of Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder. Others are high on him, but I’m not. I see nothing more than a third-round talent at best. Today’s feature—Wisconsin’s Gabe Carim—interests me a whole lot more...
Like Nate Solder, Gabe Carimi is another mammoth offensive lineman (6’7″, 315 pounds). Unlike Solder, however, Carimi seems to be a natural bender. He isn’t tight in the hips, but that isn’t to say Carimi is incredibly light on his feet either. Although Carimi plays with what I consider to be outstanding leverage and balance, his lack of elite athleticism probably makes him a better fit for the right side than the left (which could fit Dallas well).
Gabe Carimi vs. Cameron Heyward
Check out the 1:56 mark above when Carimi fires off the ball and displays a great leg drive. He’s an awesome blocker in tight areas, and I think he can get to the second level just fine, but working in space (screens, counters, tosses) won’t be his strength.
Carimi vs. Adrian Clayborn
In the first two plays in the above video, Carimi fires off the ball and displays outstanding hand placement (which I consider to be his biggest strength).
At the 24-second mark, he gets beat off ball initially, but has the athleticism and quickness to recover. That’s a play I don’t see Nate Solder making.
Carimi sometimes struggles with his footwork in pass protection, however. At the 1:11 mark, you can see him use poor footwork to allow Clayborn to beat him and cause a fumble. The same thing happens on the next play as well. When Carimi gets beat, he has a habit of turning perpendicular to the line of scrimmage, allowing for counter moves to be effective.
Overall, this was Carimi’s worst game I watched. By the way, I haven’t done an official assessment of Adrian Clayborn, but he’s looked like a beast in all of the live games and game tape I’ve watched.
Carimi vs. Miami
There are times (3:03 mark) when Carimi fails to fire off the ball in the run game. That lack of consistency will have to change for him to be an effective tackle (specifically right tackle) in the NFL.
Overall, however, I like Carimi’s game. Although he gets flack for not being an elite pass protector, I think he’ll be just fine at the next level. His technique is above average, and his skill set seems to coincide with that which one needs to play right tackle. See ya, Colombo.
Carimi is in a battle with Nate Solder, Derek Sherrod, Tyron Smith and Anthony Costanzo to be the first offensive tackle off the board. No matter which of these players might interest Dallas, they can secure him in a spot later than their No. 9 overall selection.
The ‘Boys should be able to trade into the late teens and still acquire a player superior to current starting right tackle Marc Colombo (actually they can pick up an undrafted free agent who is better, too).
I like the idea of trading down and receiving additional draft picks, particularly if Carimi is the pick. While some will despise the fact that he might be better suited for right tackle, I have no problem with it. The Cowboys need a right tackle of the future, and I don’t think left tackles are that much more important than right tackles anyway.
Other Potential Cowboys Draft Picks in 2011