The 2011 tackle class is pretty bad. I'd be surprised if more than 2 tackles got drafted next year in the first round. Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi is going to be one of them, but I don't think that he really deserves it. He isn't really much of an all-around player.
Physically, Carimi is a pretty talented player. Carimi has outstanding height, solid bulk, and above average athleticism. He also brings solid to above average strength to his game, helping him drive defenders off the ball when run blocking. He also creates a wide base in pass protection. But, for a 6'7 tackle, Carimi has some really short arms, which hinders his ability to ride defenders along the edge in pass protection.
Carimi plays with nice toughness and intensity, which helps him use his strength well to drive defenders off the ball when run blocking. His mean streak and work ethic makes him a pretty coachable player at the NFL level. It's among the greatest assets to his game.
Carimi has some awful instincts and awareness as a blocker. He takes poor angles to defenders while run blocking, he struggles to get into good position and have good pad level in zone blocking plays, and he struggles to stay low in pass protection. He also makes pretty poor blocking decisions. He needs to learn to keep his head on a swivel and get in good position on the move if he wants any NFL success.
Carimi has terrible balance. He will fall down after hardly being touched because of poor footwork and mediocre lower body strength. This greatly hinders his production as a run blocker.
One major issue that I have with Carimi is his lack of ability too handle different types of penetration moves. Carimi has been a pretty productive player against athletes like Allen Bailey, but I have seen polished defenders penetrate Carimi with ease by using the swim move and the spin move against him. The perfect example of the 2009 Purdue game; in which he was matched up against Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan is probably the most unathletic pure overachiever of any player in this year's draft class; but he has good polish. Kerrigan got 9 tackles and a sack in the game (which is somewhat good for his standards), but it's worth noting that it ended up being a 37 to 0 game. Kerrigan got subbed out the the 3rd quarter. If Kerrigan had played the entire game, he would have dominated Carimi even more than he did by using the spin and swim moves to great effectiveness. Carimi needs to learn how to use his hands better and handle pass rush moves more easily.
Overall, I think that Carimi is the benefiter of a weak tackle class. Personally, I believe in drafting for value rather than need as early in the first round Carimi is expected to be picked. Most people give Carimi a top ten grade, but Carimi isn't really a top ten talent. I would criticize any team for drafting Carimi that high. Say he gets drafted in the top ten. I just don't get why a team that is bad enough to have a top ten pick wouldn't draft a better player and fill a different need instead of drafting Carimi. I say that mostly because a team with a top ten pick isn't just a tackle away from the playoffs. So why not wait till next year and draft a better tackle than Carimi near the same pick of the following year's draft
NFL Comparison: Jeremy Trueblood