Why the Seahawks took OT James Carpenter
By Brock Huard
We hear from many of you, “Just trust Jack Z,” or “Why are you even talking about this? You have to trust Pete Carroll and John Schneider.”
So for those of you still screaming at your TV about picking Alabama offensive tackle James Carpenter at No. 25, trust this:
1. The Seahawks tried fervently to trade down and couldn’t find a dance partner. Why? More than likely the asking price wasn’t met, and instead of settling, the Hawks picked the offensive lineman with the highest grade on their board.
2. Clearly, Tom Cable’s title of assistant head coach is not just for show or dough. Cable wants big men who can be productive in his zone blocking system. By all accounts, Carpenter is a big man who started 27 consecutive games for Nick Saban and his zone blocking scheme.
3. All of the conversation from Schneider and Carroll about getting more physical and bigger wasn’t propaganda, it was reality.
4. The bigger, more recognizable names that followed the Hawks’ pick (Muhammad Wilkerson, Cameron Heyward, Mark Ingram) do not fit the scheme and style that Carroll is implementing. Heyward and Wilkerson are 3-4 defensive ends and offensive tackle Gabe Carimi may not be as versatile as Carpenter.
5. We talk about 80 percent of the grade being the product on the field, and for Carpenter that must have been the case because his Senior Bowl was unsettling and his combine scores worse.
6. There is a reason four Alabama players went in the first round. They are physically gifted, have been national champions, played high stakes football in front of 98,000 people every week, have been groomed in an NFL system, and all under the watchful eye of a dictator for a coach.
So, before we all declare James Carpenter a “reach,” and assign a poor grade, let’s get a look at the tough, durable kid from Augusta, Ga. and see where he fits for the Hawks. They desperately needed size and athleticism up front, and if Carpenter can play right tackle, Robert Gallery and Deuce Lutui can play guard, and Max Unger center, the Hawks may be able to establish the line of scrimmage in ways we haven’t seen in some time.