MADISON––Wisconsin offensive lineman Gabe Carimi sure isn’t lacking in confidence.
Asked about the possibility of being selected by the Green Bay Packers with head coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson in attendance at Wisconsin’s pro day workout on Wednesday, Carimi said, “I think they’d have to probably trade up.”
That wasn’t the first bold proclamation by Carimi.
At the NFL Combine two weeks ago, Carimi said he was the no. 1 tackle in this year’s draft class.
“Because of the players I’ve gone against, four potential first-round players (Adrian Clayborn, Ryan Kerrigan, Cameron Heyward and J.J. Watt) I’ve gone against this year,” said Carimi in Indianapolis. “I have a better resume of going against better talent than anyone else, so that makes me more (pro) ready.
“I’m physically stronger and have more career starts and better knowledge of the game than any other tackle out there. That’s why I’m the No. 1 tackle out there.”
According to Carimi, NFL teams have asked for clarification.
“They asked me why I thought that,” said Carimi. “They asked me why and I repeated myself, and most of them said they agree.”
Carimi has started all 49 games he’s played in at Wisconsin while missing only a three-game stretch his sophomore year with a knee injury.
He, along with the rest of Wisconsin’s draft-eligible players, were able to attract a large crowd of NFL scouts, head coaches and front office personnel at yesterday’s pro day.
In addition to McCarthy and Thompson, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and Bears coordinators Mike Martz and Mike Tice were also on hand to watch Carimi and company.
According to his coach at Wisconsin, Carimi will make a pretty good professional football player.
“Gabe, athletically, is very, very talented,” said Badgers head coach Bret Bielema. “Obviously very strong. The thing about Gabe, you know, he replaced a guy that has been a three-year All-Pro player. Joe Thomas has got three under his belt. And no one missed a beat.”
Over the course of the pre-draft process that includes interviews with NFL decision makers, one topic of discussion that comes up with Carimi is his Jewish faith and how it might affect his playing career.
He observes the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, including fasting, which brought about a change in his routine when Wisconsin played Arizona State on that particular date this past season.
“Basically what I did was go off Israeli time,” said Carimi. “Vast at 12 o’clock and then had like three hours to IV up and eat. I didn’t feel any different.”
The Wisconsin tackle has gone so far as to look at the calendar years in advance to confirm that the holiday doesn’t fall on a Sunday for the next 15 years, which he says quells the concerns of any NFL types.
Carimi stood on his results on a majority of Combine drills, although he re-aggravated the ankle he sprained at the Senior Bowl on Wednesday’s 20-yard shuttle, one of the few drills in which he actually took part.
“My ankle’s still a little iffy since the Senior Bowl,” said Carimi. “But I came out here, ran a pretty good time, tweaked it while I did it, though, so I didn’t run any more after that. Then I kind of taped it up and went through position drills with it hurting a little bit.”
Carimi said it wasn’t as bad as the Senior Bowl.
Questions still linger whether the Wisconsin offensive lineman is better suited for right or left tackle in the NFL, although the uncertainty doesn’t bother him. Carimi insists he can play both and will play wherever asked by his future employer.
Who exactly his future employer will be is still up for debate. He grew up a Packers fan but may not be for much longer.
“It kind of doesn’t really matter any more,” said Carimi. “I’m going to be the fan of the team who’s going to draft me. There’s a lot of good looking teams out there.”