Scouting Report:

James Carpenter looks to be a quality right tackle in the NFL for a long time. (Photo from Alabama Media Relations)

Positives:

Carpenter has impressive size at nearly 6’5”, 315 pounds even if he isn’t very well toned at that weight. He has long arms and big hands, which help him as a run and pass blocker. He has solid lateral agility and pretty good footwork to mirror pass rushers, but his greatest value is as a run blocker in my opinion. He consistently drive blocks well with good hand placement in the running game and sustains his blocks well thanks to his big, strong hands and long arms which make his blocks hard to get off of. He has good technique as both a run and pass blocker, does not bend at the waist but at the knees. He is also more mobile than I thought he would be, as he routinely demonstrates the ability to combo-block a defender and then move to the second level and engage a linebacker. He moves well for a man of his size in space and has a solid first step off the line of scrimmage to help him down-block on DT’s or to seal his man on a draw play. Carpenter also does a good job of taking his man out of the play in pass protection if he gets his hands on him. Also surprisingly good at cut blocks for his size.

Negatives:

I don’t think Carpenter can stick at left tackle in the NFL as a starter. I think he could play there in a pinch if your starter went down, but overall I think he is a right tackle. He is solid off the ball but even though he has good technique and footwork he just doesn’t have the lateral agility to mirror speed rushers who can fly around the edge. When facing players like this he will open his hips a bit too early, making him vulnerable to the inside move. At times he seems to be waiting for the defender to come to him and waiting to engage him in pass protection when he could get into position and get his hands on him to help force him wide or take him out of the play. When moving in space he struggles to change direction quickly and while he has the athleticism to pull, set up screens and even cut block I don’t think he would be a good fit in a zone blocking scheme.

Overall:

James Carpenter is a quality offensive tackle prospect. Is he going to be a Pro-Bowler at LT? No. But I think he will be a quality starter for a long time at right tackle in the NFL. He is very durable and didn’t miss a start in his career at Alabama. He is tough, he has experience in a pro-style offense so he could arguably contribute right away if needed once he learns the offensive terminology, and because his technique is already well developed you know what you are getting with him. He isn’t a project, which means his ceiling isn’t as high, but he is someone who can contribute early in his career in my opinion. He should be a quality pass blocker as long as he doesn’t have to block great speed rushers off the edge and he should be a quality run blocker as well, making him a worthwhile pick for someone in need of a quality right tackle and a spot-starter at left tackle.

Projection: 3rd round. Carpenter could go early-late 3rd round in my opinion. Will he go early in that round? It’s hard to say. With a good combine and pro-day showing it is certainly possible, but because he isn’t a terrific athlete I think it is likely that he doesn’t improve his stock much during those events while other more athletic/lesser known players could emerge and pass him up. I would personally pick him in the second round because he is so fundamentally sound and ready to contribute however.

SKILLS:
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

Strength: 4.0
Pass Blocking: 3.5
Run Blocking: 4.0
Footwork: 3.5
Technique: 4.0
Mobility: 3.0
Mean Streak: 3.0

Thanks for reading, hopefully you enjoyed my breakdown of James Carpenter. As promised, Greg McElroy, Marcell Dareus and Julio Jones are still on their way.

–Tom