Gabe Carimi

Carimi should last until at least the latter part of the first round.

Wisconsin Badgers offensive tackle Gabe Carimi was one of the best offensive linemen in college football in 2010.

The Badgers left tackle won the Outland Trophy as the top interior lineman in college football, he was a consensus first-team All American, the Big Ten offensive lineman of the year and an All-Big Ten first-team selection.

You’d think that would land him in the top 10 of the 2011 NFL Draft, but scouts apparently see enough weaknesses for that not to happen.

The repeated knocks on Carimi is he bends too much at the waist, and not enough at the knees, and he ends up on the ground too often. Despite his size (6-8, 320), strength and athleticism, it looks like his weaknesses will be enough to keep him from being a top-15 pick.

Although he played left tackle at Wisconsin, Carimi is projected as a right tackle in the pros. I know one team that can use a young right tackle — the Green Bay Packers.

As we discussed on Tuesday, the offensive line is one area the Packers will be looking at in the draft. [intlink id=”225″ type=”category”]Chad Clifton[/intlink]’s career is nearly over and the team will move [intlink id=”925″ type=”category”]Bryan Bulaga[/intlink], their 2010 first-round pick, to left tackle to replace Clifton either this year or next.

In other words, the Packers will have to figure out who their next right tackle is, soon. While there’s talk [intlink id=”583″ type=”category”]T.J. Lang[/intlink] might be the guy, the coaching staff seems to think Lang is a better guard prospect and he could be [intlink id=”94″ type=”category”]Daryn Colledge[/intlink]’s replacement if Colledge leaves in free agency.

The Packers may be able to ignore the position or develop their young linemen for another season, but a prospect like Carimi will be hard to pass up.

A quick survey of the pre-combine rankings suggests Carimi isn’t as highly-rated as you’d expect.

Carimi is almost universally considered the fourth-ranked prospect at tackle. Overall, CBS Sports ranks him No. 23, Sports Illustrated ranks him No. 30, ESPN ranks him No. 17, and Footballs Future ranks him No. 25.

Some scouts have even suggested Carimi is no higher than a second-round pick.

The Packers pick at No. 32 in the first round.