2011 Draft Profiles: OT – James Carpenter

James Carpenter

James Carpenter

College:  Alabama

Age:  21 years old

Experience: Senior (4 years)

Starts at LT:  22 games

Starts at RT:  0 games

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Height:  6 feet 4 inches

Weight:  321 lbs.

Arm Length:  34.0 inches

Hand Width:  9.75 inches

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Projection:  Left Tackle

Projected Round:  3rd Round

Combine Results (Pro Day Results)

40 Yard Dash:  5.28 seconds

3-Cone Drill:

20-Yard Shuttle:

Bench Press:  23 reps

Vertical Jump:

Broad Jump:

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Speed: Carpenter did not run any speed drills other than the 40-yard dash at the Combine, he managed to put up a sub 5.3 second time. The time essentially confirms scout evaluations of him as a mid-round prospect with average to good speed and quickness. He does not have the speed of Anthony Castonzo, but Carpenter tends to rely on quickness more than brute strength.

Agility: Carpenter did not complete any agility tests, so the scouting reports cannot be confirmed, but their initial take on Carpenter is that he has average agility. He does well getting off the snap but tends to be a little rigid laterally, leading him to get turned by excellent edge rushers. That said, he supposedly has good enough downhill and lateral speed to be effective as a lead blocker down field or to trap and pull in running schemes.

Experience: Carpenter spent two years at Alabama after initially spending two years at a Junior College. He started every game at left tackle at both schools. Despite being a transfer, he was a major component of Alabama’s national title run in 2009, and again in 2010 as Alabama remained one of the top teams in the country. He had to compete for the starting position as a junior, and knows how to win those kinds of battles.

Size/Build: While Carpenter is not as tall as the first round prospects, he has a solid build. He outweighs Castonzo by 10 pounds even though he is 3 inches shorter, making him a much sturdier left tackle. However, even though he came into the combine being considered one of the better pure athletes at OT, he put up one of the lowest scores on the bench press. His 23 reps ended up being the second lowest score of the prospects on the Coltzilla watch list, but he is not in poor company with Nate Solder (21 reps), Derek Sherrod (23 reps), and John Moffit (23 reps) also performing less than spectacularly. If he can better the score at his Pro-Day it will help ease some concerns.

Pass Blocking: Carpenter has one of the better blends of size and speed. He his fast enough to handle most defensive ends, but can get beat by premier speed rushers. He is big enough to hold his own against all but the most powerful bull rushers as well. Like other prospects, he relies heavily upon technique to gain an advantage over more powerful defenders, and based upon scouting reports, Carpenter is one of the most polished finesse linemen available. He does have good strength in his arms and hands to effectively neutralize defenders, and is very fluid, if a bit slow.

Run Blocking: Carpenter has the build and natural strength to push a pile if need be, but can get beat on the snap. Struggles with crowd noise on the snap count. Doesn’t have a bulldozer style to clear a path through traffic but is effective enough at anchoring himself that he can manipulate defenders. He has the speed and desire to be effective blocking in the second level, and has good enough knowledge of pro-style offenses to work well in space, but he has difficulty changing directions and can get caught flat footed when he has to cut back to block.

Health: Carpenter has never missed a game in his football career through college, and has been one of the more durable linemen. He has no significant injuries in his history and is completely healthy now. His decision to not fully participate in drills at the Combine was intended so he could control the environment more at his Pro-Day.

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OVERVIEW: Carpenter is a mid-round prospect who could potentially produce at a first round level as a rookie. He lacks the experience of other tackles in the draft, and his lack of lateral agility is a serious concern for teams looking for a starting left tackle. He compares to Ryan Diem in many ways, who is 6’4, 320 lbs, and was a 4th round prospect who had good technique and a good base, but lacked lateral speed. Diem pre-2009 turned out very favorably for the Colts, though, so it is not outside the realm of possibility to see the Colts taking another stout lineman to anchor the line, especially if the top tier prospects are all gone by the 22nd pick. Carpenter doesn’t look as good as Carimi or Castonzo right now, but he could be a poor man’s substitute, especially if the Colts are willing to do some adjusting on the line (like moving CJ to RG, Link to LT, and placing Carpenter at RT). As a third round pick, Carpenter represents good value and an adequate risk/reward investment.

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