4. Bobby Carpenter, LB Ohio State 6-3, 255 (4.66)
NFL Comparison: Napoleon Harris, Minnesota Vikings
Overshadowed by teammate A.J. Hawk, but just as versatile and almost as explosive. Carpenter can back up all three spots in the linebacking corps because of his size/speed ratio. Relentless in pursuit and tough with good athletic ability. Very well-rounded as a player and shows the tenacity necessary to be solid at the next level.
Against the run –
Carpenter’s size allows him to hold up well against the run. His technique could use some work and he needs to get stronger, but there is no denying the stats he put up as a Buckeye (over 200 tackles in 26 starts). When he gets his hands on a ball-carrier the play is over. Lets blockers get into his body, but that can be rectified with coaching at the pro level.
Against the pass –
For a man his size, Carpenter has excellent hips to turn and run with tight ends and backs in man-to-man coverage. Gets very deep on his drops and shows good instincts in space. As an edge pass-rusher, Carpenter shows a good burst to get to the quarterback and a solid spin move. Needs to work on more moves to be successful at the pro level, but has good instincts as a blitzer.
Roster impact on Seattle –
Because he may need a year or two to become a quality starter, he wouldn’t be wasted on the bench as a valued backup and special teams demon. The signing of Julian Peterson allows the Hawks the luxury of keeping Leroy Hill at strongside linebacker or bringing him off the bench as a situational blitzer. Carpenter would be an ideal fit on the strongside for Seattle if that is way they decided to go.
Final Analysis –
It’s debatable whether the Hawks will even look at a linebacker early enough in the draft to select a player with Carpenter’s ability. He runs well, is a leader and plays with a lot of passion. Carpenter is currently earning 2nd round grades and because he’s still recovering from a broken ankle suffered in November, teams may be a tad leery about selecting him in the early part of the second round even though he appears to be fully recovered. If he were to fall to the late second round the Hawks could take a look at him, but there is a good chance he will be gone before the 63rd overall selection.
Scott Eklund writes and reports for Seahawks.NET and Dawgman.com. Feel free to contact him at email@example.com.