IOWA CITY IA - OCTOBER 23: Offensive lineman Gabe Carimi #68 for the Wisconsin Badger holds the Heartland Trophy with his teammates as they celebrate their victory of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium on October 23 2010 in Iowa City Iowa. Wisconsin won 31-30 over Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images).
I may have just talked to the Kansas City Chiefs first round draft pick.
Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi is making the media rounds today and I had a chance to chat with him. He's promoting the New York Life Protection Index which actually has a pretty cool premise -- trying to quantify an offensive line's production.
Carimi said he was "stoked" about having an offensive line stat. Check out their website which includes a stat that suggests drafting an offensive lineman in round one greatly increases the chances the offensive line improves.
On the Chiefs, we'll go with the newsy item first. Carimi says he has had contact with the Chiefs in the draft process.
"They came in for a personal workout as Wisconsin," he told me. "Overall I think they like me, but you really can't read into everything because it seems like every team likes you.
"If my name is still on the board at 21, I hope they pick me. But if my name is still on the board at 25, I hope they pick me. It doesn't really matter. Whatever team is on the board, I hope they see the value I can bring to their team immediately."
Interesting (if not useless) note: he knew the Chiefs were drafting at No. 21. He says he just started looking at some mock drafts this week because you can't really avoid it.
He did not visit the Chiefs in Kansas City but, as he suggested, there's not much you can read into that. I remember talking to Chiefs GM Scott Pioli a few weeks ago and he told me that they'll bring guys in for visits sometimes if they need to do more research on the player. It's possible they felt they had a pretty good read on Carimi already so they didn't need to bring him in. (Or it's possible they didn't want to bring him in and tip their hand in the first round.)
Carimi is projected to play offensive tackle at the next level but it depends on the team when it comes down to determining whether it's on the left side or right side. In the Chiefs case, he would probably be projected at right tackle, which are usually "graders", he says.
Two things stood out to me when assessing him as a Chief.
First, he's versatile and can play almost anywhere on the offensive line.
"I know I can play left tackle but it's wherever the team needs are and that's where I'm going to fit in and work my butt off," he said. "I can play four spots on the field and that's what I'm going to be working hard for."
Second, he's ready to play immediately which, with the NFL lockout, could be very important.
"I really do think that's one of my assets, especially with this unique situation," he said. "Wisconsin runs a pro style offense and a lot of teams have said, 'Oh, this is exactly what you run at Wisconsin.'
"Terminology and being able to use their terms. Wisconsin has done a great job of teaching you how to actually play football, communicate in football terms, and with the general knowledge of the game I think I'll be ahead of the curve in that aspect. "
And one final note on our interview. He'll be at home with his family and friends on draft night -- but it's not just a draft party.
"I think my Mom made it a graduation thing too because I actually have a group presentation that day," he said.
Yes, school work due on the day of the NFL draft.