2011 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: James Carpenter, OT, Alabama

As we have meandered our way through the series of 2011 NFL Draft prospect profiles we have looked at more offensive linemen than we have players at any other position. Today, we are going to add another one to the list.

Alabama offensive tackle James Carpenter is a mid-round prospect. He has a few characteristics that we know New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese likes -- size, athleticism for a lineman, positional versatility.

What really drew me to Carpenter, though, is the high praise heaped on him by NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi, a former NFL executive. Said Lombardi:

When you hear everyone talk about the top offensive linemen in the draft, Carpenter is never mentioned. For me, though, he is the second best left tackle prospect on the board behind Tyron Smith of USC. Carperter has balance, he can play with power, and he has the feet to handle the edge. He is a ready-made left tackle, plus he can play inside at guard.

Another draft analyst who loves Carpenter is Russ Lande of The Sporting News. He says:

Carpenter has uncommon strength to compete for a starting left tackle spot at the next level. If he improves his hand usage, Carpenter eventually could be a Pro Bowl-caliber player.

Scouting reports after the jump.

James Carpenter
OT, Alabama
6-foot-4, 321 pounds
Projection: Middle rounds

Scouting Reports

From Draft Countdown:

Strengths:
- Ideal height and bulk with a large frame
- Above average athleticism, agility and quickness
- Has nimble feet to slide laterally and mirror
- Can work in space and get to the second level
- Understands body positioning and angles
- Versatile and could project to multiple positions
- Durable and fared well versus elite competition

Weaknesses:
- Does not have very long arms
- Questionable instincts and awareness
- Doesn't get a great push in the run game
- Not real stout at the point of attack
- Is not overly strong or powerful
- Not nasty and may lack a killer instinct
- Overall intelligence might be an issue

Overview:
Could project to either offensive tackle or offensive guard at the next level --- Best fit might come in a zone blocking scheme --- The type who does everything well but nothing great --- Is talented enough to compete for a starting job.

From NFL.com:

Strengths:
Carpenter is a highly-durable player who has been able to stay on the field during his career. Has the height and build you look for at the offensive tackle position. Does a good job in pass protection against the speed and bull rush. Possesses the athletic ability to get to the second level when run blocking.

Weaknesses:
Can be beat by good counter moves in pass protection. Will occasionally struggle against defensive line stunts and elaborate blitz packages. Does not consistently drive defenders off the line of scrimmage in the downhill running game. Would benefit from playing with a little more fire.

Overview:
Carpenter has a chance to end up as a starter and certainly has the ability to provide valuable depth as a backup. Looks the part of an NFL left tackle with his great size and frame. At this stage, Carpenter grades out as a good pass blocker but just adequate in the running game. His game could benefit from some improved awareness in blitz pickup. Would become more valuable as a run blocker with increased strength and power. Carpenter should hear his name called during the middle rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft.

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