Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi does not lack for confidence.
Besides the fact that he won the Outland Trophy as the nation's top lineman, Carimi also offered his experience and consistency as being key reasons why he should be the first offensive tackle selected in the 2011 draft.
"I'm a physical player who has gone against four potential first round picks this year," Carimi explained when asked why he thought he should go off the board first.
In terms of competition, it is hard to argue with Carimi. After all, he faced Adrian Clayborn (Iowa), Cameron Heyward (Ohio State), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue) and JJ Watt (Wisconsin), who Carimi obviously faced in practice.
Carimi identified Clayborn as the toughest defensive end he faced this season based largely on the Hawkeye defensive end's initial quickness.
Scouts no doubt will like Carimi's confidence. They'll also like the fact that Carimi started four years at Wisconsin, all at left tackle.
Despite his production, hardware and confidence, CBS' crew of mock draft writers of Pete Prisco, Chad Reuter and I have others currently projected to be the first offensive tackle selected. Pete has Carimi going to the Philadelphia Eagles with the 23rd overall pick. Chad has Carimi going to the Chiefs with the No. 21 pick. And I have the former Badger star going 29th overall to the Chicago Bears.
This year's class of tackles is an unusual one. Scouts love the depth at the position, but the groups lacks a headlining prospect guaranteed of a top ten pick. Every year since 2005 there has been at least one tackle drafted this high.