James Carpenter, OT, Alabama Crimson Tide
40-Time: (NFL Scouting Combine Time Feb. 23 - Mar. 1 to be added)
With big named offensive tackles like Nate Solder, Gabe Carimi, Anthony Costanzo, and Derek Sherrod at the Senior Bowl, it was to my surprise that my eyes were drawn constantly to James Carpenter. Carpenter consistently had the most impressive practices and game of all of the premier offensive tackles in attendance.
Carpenter showed the ability to get a firm base and anchor down against some of the best speed and power rushers. On occasions where it appeared Carpenter would get beat, he regained control and was able to hold off the defender by resetting his foundation and anchoring down.
James shows good strength and decent feet. It wasn't uncommon to see him on film using this combination to easily handle two defenders. On one such occasion he was able to take the defensive end out of containment and bring him back inside to the linebacker. This took out the only two defenders that had a chance to make a play on the ball and sprung a 40 yard touchdown.
The main thing that keeps showing up in Carpenter's game that I despise is his pad level. He seems to always go high. Against stronger defenders, they used this against him by hitting him with the quick punch to get his feet off the ground. Once he had his momentum in the air, they would just cut back inside to the quarterback.
Carpenter doesn't have one of the quickest kick outs and he'll try to make up for it by kicking out before reading the defender's movements. It opens him up for a defender to make a quick cut back to the inside. He doesn't have the feet to regain and get back inside versus speed rushers to prevent the sack.
When Carpenter gets out on the run in open spaces, whether it's getting to the second level or pulling around the line, he doesn't show that killer mentality. Instead of plowing over smaller players, he waits for them to bring the contact to him. This allows for some awkward misses as it plays into the strength of the smaller, more agile, defenders.
Carpenter played for Coffeyeville Community College in Kansas for 2 years before transferring to Alabama in 2009. His first season at Alabama, all he did was start every game at the cornerstone position of the offensive line, left tackle.
He was 1 of 3 new starters on this offensive line. His blocking paved the way for a balanced attack that led Mark Ingram to the Heisman and the rest of the team to the National Championship crown.
Potential NFL Team, Round
The last few years of the NFL draft, there have been runs on offensive tackles in the first round. If the trend continues, then Carpenter could find himself taken at the end of the 1st round. With all of the talented defensive linemen, I believe that the number of offensive linemen taken in the first round will be down from the last few years. If that's the case, James could land somewhere from the early to mid part of the second round.
The New Orleans Saints with the 24th pick in the 1st round would be a good fit for Carpenter. At the 29th pick, the Bears could look to give Jay Cutler a little more security and time for his plays to develop. In my mind, the value starts to build with the Buffalo Bills pick at 34th overall. Carpenter could open up the running game for CJ Spiller like he did for Ingram at Alabama and also protect whoever will be the starting quarterback in Buffalo next season.
The deeper you get into the second round, the safer the Carpenter pick becomes. I don't see him lasting past St. Louis at the 47th pick overall. Bradford could have bookends for the next 10+ years if they choose to move Carpenter to right tackle opposite of Rodger Saffold. For the Rams to make that pick, he would have to make it pass the Dallas Cowboys at 40th overall and the Detroit Lions at 44th overall.
Jayson Braddock appears on Sports Radio 790 AM in Houston, TX, every Thursday morning at 11:19 am CST as the football insider on the Dylan Gwinn show. He's a graduate of the Sports Management World Wide Football GM & Scouting Course and has been mentored by former NFL player / executive John Wooten and Sporting News.com NFL Draft Expert Russ Lande. His work is mostly appreciated by die-hard fans interested in every little detail about their team and not just watered down mainstream talk. - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports7910.com. You may email Jayson directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ JaysonBraddock
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