Thursday, April 28, 2011
Gabe Carimi: Instant upgrade for Bears
By Kevin Seifert
The Chicago Bears were at the mercy of 28 other teams Thursday night in their efforts to improve their offensive line. Their best-case scenario was for one of the to offensive tackles to get pushed down the board by a run at quarterbacks, and that's exactly how Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi was available when the Bears' turn arrived.
The Bears wasted little time drafting a player who called himself "the best tackle available" during the February scouting combine. At 6-foot-7 and 314 pounds, he could play either left or right tackle for the Bears but should be an immediate starter regardless. Offensive line coach Mike Tice has experience developing young (and big) linemen, and I would imagine he hit the roof Thursday night when the Bears turned in their card.
With Carimi on board, the Bears at least have a starting point in assembling their starting lineup. They can plug him in at one spot and then begin adjusting the rest of their players accordingly. The early guess is that he will start his career at right tackle, but that's only if the Bears feel comfortable with one of their incumbents -- Frank Omiyale, Chris Williams or J'Marcus Webb -- playing left tackle.
But if you're a Bears fan who watched your team give up a sack every 9.9 dropbacks last season, by far the highest rate in the NFL, you're feeling pretty good right now.
Earlier: Carimi falls to the Bears in our ESPN.com Blog Network mock draft.