Tag:James Carpenter
Posted on: November 18, 2011 3:44 pm
 

Season-ending injuries to rookie OL disappointing

The Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears spent their respective 2011 first round picks on offensive tackles James Carpenter and Gabe Carimi in large part due to their durability. Both men, after all, had started four consecutive seasons of college football. As if they needed to prove something about their toughness, both men also elected to participate in an extra game -- the Senior Bowl -- following their long and distinguished collegiate careers.

It is therefore all the more disappointing that both men, as well as Seattle's 3rd round pick offensive guard John Moffitt (another four-year starter who coincidentally played alongside Carimi at Wisconsin) went down to season-ending knee injuries this week. Like Carimi and Carpenter, Moffitt, too, played in Mobile.

Carimi, the Bears' starting right tackle the first two games of the season, was injured in the second quarter of their September 18 loss to the Saints. Chicago had hoped the 2011 Outland Trophy winner would return this season, but after suffering a setback in his recovery from the initial injury, Carimi underwent arthroscopic surgery last week. The Bears placed him on Injured Reserve Friday.

The news has been twice as troubling for the Seahawks. Seattle lost Moffitt to a torn MCL in their surprising November 13 home victory over the Baltimore Ravens. The team then saw former Carpenter tear his ACL during practice only four days later. The two rookies had started every game this season, making up the right side of Seattle's offensive line.

The injuries prove what a crap shoot the draft ultimately is. The durability shown by each player throughout college had made them some of the "safer" prospects at their respective positions available last April.

That, unfortunately, doesn't mean much now.
Posted on: August 29, 2011 11:39 am
 

Von Miller -- 2011 Defensive Rookie of the Year

At less than 6-3 (6025) and 246 pounds, Von Miller looks too small to remain at defensive end in the 4-3 defense John Fox is implementing in Denver.

Technically speaking, he is... and therefore plays strongside linebacker for the Broncos, but the No. 2 overall pick often drops his hand into the dirt to rush the quarterback from the traditional three-point stance and it is in this position in which Miller is his most dangerous.

Miller only registered one tackle in the Broncos' preseason opening game against Dallas. He was able to flush Cowboy quarterbacks out of the pocket, however, creating playmaking opportunities for his teammates. Two weeks ago, against Buffalo, Miller was better, registering two tackles, including a sack. Saturday, he registered two of Denver's five sacks, alternately confounding Seattle's first round pick James Carpenter with blinding speed around the edge and surprising strength for the bull rush. Miller essentially took over Seattle's first offensive series of the second half. On first down he sidestepped the blocker, showing good hands to shed and brought quick-footed running back Justin Forsett down for a two yard gain (play was wiped out due to a holding penalty on Seattle). The next play, Miller showed his ability to change directions and close quickly on the football, pursuing and tackling Forsett from behind for a gain of five. On the next snap, Miller jab-stepped outside to get Carpenter on his heels and then simply bull-rushed the 321 pound Carpenter before slipping off to sack Tarvaris Jackson for a three-yard sack.

Miller, despite being pulled in the third quarter, led the Broncos in solo tackles (4), total tackles (4) sacks (2), and quarterback pressures (4) in this game.

Some will take this game as one example of a defensive rookie being ahead of an offensive rookie. I see the physical traits, instincts and technique that is going to make Miller an absolute terror for the Broncos... and I mean, immediately.

The combination of Miller and the healthy return of 2009 NFL sack leader Elvis Dumervil will give the Broncos the elite pass rushing duo in all of the NFL this season. If that prediction isn't bold enough for you (considering that Denver finished dead last in the NFL with 32 sacks in 2010), how about this one.

Not only does Miller appear poised to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award, I think he may be capable of doing so as emphatically as Ndamukong Suh did it for the Detroit Lions last year, perhaps even challenging Jevon Kearse's rookie sack title (14.5 for Tennessee in 1999).

Posted on: August 20, 2011 10:35 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2011 11:50 pm
 

Early impressions of the rookies from SEA-MINN

I will be blogging live from the press box tonight from Seattle for the Seahawks-Vikings preseason game. My goal is to give readers some insight as to how some of the rookies and perhaps other young players for both teams performed.

This first post focuses on the Seahawks. I am looking forward to writing about the Vikings' players, but no rookies started for them. I am especially looking forward to scouting first two picks -- quarterback Christian Ponder and tight end Kyle Rudolph.

As expected, Seattle's young offensive line had their rough stretches. The timing between rookies John Moffitt (RG) and James Carpenter (RT) was clearly off on an early running play. Both players were asked to provide running blocks to the left (essentially pulling from their positions). Carpenter leapt out of his stance and quickly caught up to Moffitt (who was slow getting out) and the two stumbled over each other, providing little help to running back Marshawn Lynch.

On Seattle's second series, Carpenter was asked to release to the second level, but wasn't able to beat middle linebacker Erin Henderson to the spot. Henderson read the play, shot upfield and tackled Lynch for little to no gain.

Carpenter was much better later, effectively sealing off Minnesota defensive end Adrian Awasom on a couple of quick-hitters from Leon Washington.

On a more positive note, rookie safety Jeron Johnson forced a fumble of Viking punt returner Greg Camarillo. The ball was scooped up by outside linebacker Aaron Curry and returned roughly 45 yards for an apparent touchdown, but the play was whistled dead and Camarillo was ruled down by contact. The play was later overturned with Seattle receiving the ball (but not the score).

A tough start so far for second year receiver Golden Tate. He had an opportunity for a big play on the Seahawks' first play from scrimmage, but had the ball ripped from his hands from Viking cornerback Cedric Griffin. Tate also let a pass get through his hands following the Seahawks' fumble recovery. The ball was caught by Vikings' cornerback Marcus Sherels and returned for a score.

The Seahawks' offensive line (including Moffitt, Carpenter) held up well on this particular pass play and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson threw a very catchable ball.



Posted on: May 9, 2011 4:41 pm
 

Finding the Fits -- The Offensive Line

Over the next two weeks I will be highlighting a different position each day in an attempt to Find the Fit -- identifying 2011 prospects who are a particularly good schematic fits for the club that selected him. I'll also highlight one player per position who I believe could struggle in his new NFL role. Too often in the past rookies who have struggled in the NFL have done so because they were simply drafted into schemes that didn't fit their individual strengths.

After several strong years in a row for offensive tackles, the 2011 crop was lacking in elite talent -- at least when it comes to blindside protectors. The strength of the 2011 class lay on the opposite side, as many of the top blockers -- while left tackles in college -- will be asked to switch to the strongside in the NFL. This is likely to be the case with virtually all of this year's top tackles, including the first one selected (Tyron Smith) and the most celebrated offensive tackle of the class (four-year starter Gabe Carimi, the reigning Outland Trophy winner).

With Mike Pouncey and Danny Watkins each top 23 picks, some have mislabeled the 2011 crop of interior linemen as a very good one. In reality, the depth inside was worse than outside this year.

There are, however, plenty of intriguing schematic fits for this year's class.

This is the last of the Finding the Fit breakdowns for offensive prospects. Earlier, I broken down the quarterbacks , running backswide receivers and tight end fits.

Players are listed alphabetically.
Good Fits:

James Carpenter, Seattle Seahawks: Many were surprised to see Carpenter make the first round, though I was not . Carpenter had been steadily rising up draft boards following a quietly impressive week at the Senior Bowl in which he demonstrated the athleticism, versatility and toughness to "plug and play" at any of the four exterior positions. Some pegged quarterback as the Seahawks' greatest need, but considering the fact that the Seahawks received zero or negative yardage on a staggering 26% of their runs last season, upgrading their offensive line was clearly a focus. Carpenter isn't flashy, but he's the physical road-grading right tackle the Seahawks have been missing for years.

Anthony Castonzo, Indianapolis Colts:
The knock on Castonzo was he wasn't as physical as some teams would prefer. Though he's made massive gains in the weight and strength department in his four seasons at Boston College (after starting as a 260 pound RT), he is still not the intimidator in the running game that most OL coaches are looking for. Castonzo does, however, possess good lateral agility, long arms and the dedication to play well immediately. For a team needing immediate help up front to keep Peyton Manning upright, Castonzo was the ideal fit. Castonzo, in fact, was the best fit for the Colts among any of the eight offensive linemen drafted in the first round.

Marcus Gilbert, Pittsburgh Steelers: As I mentioned previously, I had forecasted the Steelers taking an underrated and athletic left tackle from the SEC in Carpenter in the first round. With Carpenter off the board, the Steelers built their defensive line instead with Ohio State's Cameron Heyward at No. 31 overall, but found a similar blocker in Florida's Gilbert at No. 63. At 6-6, 330 pounds, Gilbert is bigger than Carpenter (and more ideal for Pittsburgh's preference for extra large blockers) and yet plays with a similar brand of physicality and toughness. He's capable of competing immediately for playing time at either left or right tackle.

Rodney Hudson, Kansas City Chiefs: A two-time winner of the Jacobs' Blocking Trophy as the best offensive lineman in the ACC, Hudson's consistency and athleticism are unquestioned. At only 6-2, 299 pounds (he played closer to 280 at Florida State), Hudson lacks the girth most teams prefer and will almost surely be asked to switch from his customary left guard position to center by the Chiefs. Kansas City operates out of a zone-blocking scheme, however, that places a premium on athleticism over mass in its offensive linemen. Furthermore, head coach Todd Haley prefers smaller, quicker offensive linemen, as well. I'm not as high on Kansas City's draft as some appear to be. Hudson is a significant exception, however. I believe he'll prove a Pro Bowler one day.

Andrew Jackson, Atlanta Falcons: Just as Hudson was an ideal match for the Chiefs due to his quick feet, "The President" is an intriguing fit for the power-based Atlanta attack. Jackson isn't a nimble athlete, but his size (6-5, 299), strength and tenacity could make him a pleasant late round (7th round, No. 210 overall) surprise for a Falcons team potentially in need of reinforcements up front with guards Harvey Dahl and Justin Blalock scheduled for free agency. Jackson would have gone a few rounds higher had he not lost most of his senior season to a nagging ankle injury.

Questionable Fit:

Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys:
There is no denying Smith's athletic upside. If there is a tackle in this class who could wind up being a perennial Pro Bowler a few years from now, Smith is the favorite. That said, due to his athleticism, Smith's best position in the NFL will ultimately be on the left side -- a position he never played while at USC. Jerry Jones would like to believe his Cowboys were only a player or two away from legitimate Super Bowl contention... and perhaps he's right. Smith, however, is likelier to struggle as a rookie than star, making him an questionable choice for a team largely built to win now.
Posted on: May 1, 2011 9:49 pm
 

2011 NFL Draft -Twitter chat Monday 1pmET/10amPT

It seems that there are plenty of people who disagree with my team grades of the 2011 NFL Draft. I'm sure there are plenty of other questions out there, as well.

Why did Ryan Mallett fall as far as he did? How much of a "reach" was James Carpenter to the Seahawks at No. 25 overall? Is Julio Jones worth the gamble the Falcons took in their big trade up?

Rather than answer question by question on the blog, I thought I'd take as many questions as readers would like to ask in a Monday question-answer session on Twitter.

All you have to do is follow me on Twitter and send me questions @RobRang. I've done dozens of radio interviews throughout the draft weekend and today, but rather than just talk to radio DJs, I want to reach out to the ones that matter -- the passionate, intelligent fans out there. I know first-hand that sometimes the fans know their teams and the players every bit as much (or more) than the so-called experts.

My only request... let's leave the courtroom drama for the lawyers. There are plenty of NFL reporters out there more qualified to answer your questions about the labor unrest.

I'd rather talk draft and how your favorite teams, players, etc. did. 

Again, just follow me on Twitter and send me any and all draft questions at @RobRang. I'll do the rest...  If you'd like, send in your questions now. I'll get to them tomorrow during the scheduled "chat" hour of 1-2 pm Eastern/10-11 am Pacific.

"See" 'ya then

-- Rob Rang

Posted on: April 19, 2011 6:05 pm
 

Reuter/Shehadi discuss Draft's Risers/Fallers

My fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter and CBSSports.com's Lauren Shehadi discussed the latest Risers and Fallers in preparation of next week's NFL Draft.

Rather than waste time by explaining what was said, I've just embedded the video for you to watch.



Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:22 pm
 

OT, RB depth underrated strengths of 2011 class

For most fans of the NFL draft, it is simply human nature to focus on the best players. These, of course, are the headliners that typically are drafted highest and thus, are expected to make the most immediate and lasting impact in the NFL.

Scouts, however, are very well aware of the fact that the big names will only constitute the first 32 or 64 picks of the 254 players selected this year.

As such, they're dedicating much of their attention to the lower rated prospects... and what they've been discovering is the unusual depth at offensive tackle and running back in this year's class.

By now, everyone knows the elite offensive tackles. Anthony Castonzo, Tyron Smith, Gabe Carimi, Derek Sherrod and Nate Solder are all expected to be first round picks . The depth behind the "fabulous five" is worth mentioning too.

Teams are quite high on the toughness and consistency of Alabama's James Carpenter and Miami's Orlando Franklin. With a little fine-tuning, TCU's Marcus Cannon, Indiana's James Brewer and Florida's Marcus Gilbert could surprise. Though level of competition questions abound, no one dominated their opponents as consistently as Villanova's Ben Ijalana throughout his respective career. There are a lot of teams very high on the long-term upside of lower level FBS prospects Derek Newton (Arkansas State), Jah Reid (Central Florida), Willie Smith (East Carolina), Byron Stingily (Louisville) and Byron Bell (New Mexico).

Running backs offer similar depth.

I highlighted three of the "sleeper" running backs that I really like in this video with CBS' Lauren Shehadi. Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers, Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones and Hawaii's Alex Green are only a few of the backs not getting a lot of media attention that I feel will ultimately surprise. I'm also particularly high on Clemson's Jamie Harper, Louisville's Bilal Powell and Miami's Graig Cooper, though NFLDraftScout.com currently rates all three as Day three picks or, in the case of Cooper, even a potentially undrafted player.

Last year we saw two undrafted free agents lead all rookie running backs in rushing yards. Tampa found their star in former Oregon Duck LaGarrette Blount and New Orleans found a true diamond in the rough in former Tiffin Dragon (and Washington State Cougar) Chris Ivory. The three running backs drafted in the first round -- CJ Spiller (Buffalo), Ryan Matthews (San Diego) and Jahvid Best (Detroit) were all relative disappointments as rookies.

Considering the underrated talent of this year's RB class, don't be surprised if a Day Three find winds up competing for the league's rookie rushing title again in 2011...
Posted on: July 27, 2010 10:19 am
Edited on: July 27, 2010 6:35 pm
 

As promised, my SEC notes after film review

After a short hiatus to the coast of Washington State to chase the elusive chinook salmon, here are the SEC film room notes I had promised.

Again, I fully recognize that there have been many off-field stories that have broken recently -- the ongoing NCAA investigations , important rookie signings and, unfortunately, the terrible accident that fractured the skull of Baltimore pass rusher Sergio Kindle, thereby endangering his rookie season and perhaps even his NFL career. 
There are so many off-field news stories right now that I am trying to focus on the action that takes places between the white lines. I posted my thoughts on what surprised/disappointed/impressed me after my initial review of ACC prospects a few days ago.

Here are my thoughts after scouting the top senior prospects in the SEC.

  • In the opinion of many NFL scouts, the essential difference between the SEC and the rest of college football is the different talent and depth the Southeastern Conference boasts along the defensive line. Though a few teams have narrowed the gap (North Carolina and Pittsburgh chief among them), the SEC again is loaded up front with run-stuffers and pass-rushers. Mississippi nose guard Jerrell Powe is currently our top-ranked prospect from the conference. He is quickly followed by pass rushers Pernell McPhee (Mississippi State) and Cliff Saunders (South Carolina). Powe has been often compared to former Boston College standout (and current Green Bay Packer) B.J. Raji for his stout presence in the middle. Like Raji, who missed the 2007 season due to academic suspension, Powe has struggled to keep his grades in check. In fact, he was deemed ineligible three consecutive years from 2005-2007. NFL teams will no doubt take Powe's academic struggles in mind when determining his final grade. What is obvious on film, however, is that he is a talented player who could physically compete immediately in the NFL.
  • The defensive line is typically what the SEC is known for, but this year the unique talent in the conference comes along the offensive line and at tight end. My fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter broke down the conference's depth up front in a feature article here . No fewer than eight senior SEC offensive linemen are currently viewed as potential draft-worhty prospects. The conference also boasts NFLDraftScout.com's top three rated senior tight ends in South Carolina's Weslye Saunders, Tennessee's Luke Stocker and Arkansas' D.J. Williams. I was a bit underwhelmed with each of them, quite frankly. Saunders (6-5, 272) has incredible size and surprising overall athleticism, but isn't the speed threat most of today's NFL teams are looking for. Williams, at 6-2, 244 pounds, has some speed and is a tenacious blocker considering his size, but simply lacks the bulk for most clubs. The most well-rounded of the bunch is the 6-5, 252 pound Stocker, though he doesn't possess any skills on film that left me wowed, either.
  • Considering that they're the defending National Champions, it might surprise you to learn how few of the SEC's highly rated prospects play for Alabama. In defense of the Crimson Tide, many of their top-rated prospects who would be seniors this year elected to leave early (ILB Rolando McClain, CB Kareem Jackson, etc.). Furthermore, their depth and coaching is so good that some seniors seeing the field extensively for the first time in 2010 will no doubt emerge as legitimate prospects. However, at this point, NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior Crimson Tide prospect is left tackle James Carpenter, currently viewed as a 3rd-4th round prospect -- and one likely to have make the transition inside to guard. Quarterback Greg McElroy, rated as a 6th-7th round prospect is next. Of course, considering the draft-eligible underclassmen on this team (Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, Marcel Dareus, etc.), the Tide rolls on.
  • Speaking of Alabama, with all due respect to Heisman winner Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson is a fabulous NFL prospect in his own right. One that I feel could have been similarly productive in Alabama's offense had been given Ingram's attempts. Luckily for Nick Saban and Tide fans, as a true sophomore, Richardson has at least two more seasons in Tuscaloosa. He flashed first round talent as a true freshman...
  • Though I wouldn't rank them among the elite prospects in the conference just yet, a few players did flash on film that haven't generated a lot national attention just yet. I mentioned Alabama's Carpenter earlier. Auburn running back Mario Fannin is a terrific receiver who has popped off the tape throughout his career, but has never been able to string together the dominant season his skill-set seems capable of producing. Fannin has struggled with fumbles and injuries early in his career, but, if over both, could enjoy a breakout campaign in 2010. Kentucky wide receiver Chris Matthews, at 6-5, 222 pounds, surprised me with good body control and enough acceleration to think he could surprise, as well.
  • One final note on the SEC prospects... I typically reserve comments for senior prospects, but Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett is an obvious NFL prospect regardless of when he leaves the Razorbacks. However, I wasn't as wowed by Mallett as some apparently are. His 6-6, 238 pound frame is considered a positive by most, though his long legs and only moderate foot speed/balance concern me. Mallett has a gun and can make some dazzling throws, but at least some of his success has to be attributed to Bobby Petrino's wide-open offense. Remember, this is the same offense that convinced many of us that former Louisville standout Brian Brohm was one day going to be an NFL star. With two years of remaining eligibility, Mallett has plenty of time to iron out some wrinkles to his game, but I, for one, feel he's being a bit overrated right now... 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com