Seems too overextended with his footwork initially off the snap, although he does do a nice job quickly getting off the ball and reaching the edge vs. the speed rush. He allows his base to get too overextended on his initial kick step, which causes him to get too upright on contact and struggles when asked to re-direct back inside. Also, has a tendency to stop moving his feet on the edge after his initial kick-step. And although he does do a nice job extending his long arms and using his length to push defenders past the pocket, he simply isn't much of a real Velcro player and fails to consistently stay on blocks. Possesses a good anchor though vs. the bull rush and when he keeps his base down the guy is tough to move.
Impression: There is some untapped potential to his game because of his initial range off the edge. However, he plays too high at times and lacks any kind of pop in the run game as an in-line guy. Therefore, you won't be able to run behind him in the NFL, and although he is a decent athlete with good anchor, looks more like a fringe NFL starter to me."
Run Blocking: Better than expected in this area, he gives good effort and can explode out of his stance to move the line. Attacks his man and latches on to sustain. Must improve his recovery speed and recoil, as a strong punch allows ends to disengage. Adequate getting outside to seal the edge. Lacks great lower-body strength to anchor but plays with a wide base and will drop his hips to get leverage. Does not get through traffic well, gets tripped up in piles. Willing cut blocker but is inconsistent getting enough of his man to take him out of the play. Gets low in short-yardage situations, drives forward well but is not dominant at the point of attack.
Pulling/Trapping: Is not the most mobile tackle, but should be effective trapping if moved to guard at the next level. Has trouble getting around the tight end on outside runs if there is any upfield movement by the defense. When free to roam, however, he gets the correct angle and hustles to a target. Owns very strong hands to latch onto linebackers and defensive backs to ride them out of the play.
Initial Quickness: Adequate in his quickness off the snap, better on running plays and in pass protection. Gets his strong hands into his man's jersey sufficiently quickly to create running lanes whether crashing down or sealing the edge. Gets out to take away the edge against most college ends but may struggle to do so against NFL ends without giving up the inside lane.
Downfield: Lacks great foot speed to get out in front of plays, but is effective in space if not covered up off the line. Goes 20 yards downfield to help out his running back, using his size and strength to take out defenders. Plays through the whistle. Gets a hand on quick defenders but allows too many to slide by him to make plays.
Intangibles: Fights for his teammates on the field, willing to clean up piles. Inexperienced in major college football, but has been lauded for his work ethic and ability to learn. Durable player who does not (miss) many plays. Wears preventive knee braces."
Movement: Carpenter is not a coordinated or fluid athlete. He struggles to get in and out of his stance which helps the defenders to get an advantage. When asked to climb to the 2nd level, Carpenter is routinely late and unbalanced. He doesn't show the quickness to get across the face of a penetrating defensive tackle. This will be an issue if he is asked to transition to the guard position.
Pass Blocking: Lack of quickness and balance limit Carpenter's ability to effectively protect in space. He struggles to reach the edge allowing speed rushers to flatten out and create pressure. However, Carpenter has a natural bend and strong anchor. This allows him to absorb contact and limit the push on the pocket. Carpenter's ability to achor will help him if he is asked to transition to guard. I feel that guard might be the best fit for him because I wouldn't trust him protecting in space.
Quickness: Carpenter lacks ideal quickness and struggles to fire off the football. His lack of short area bust limits his ability to reach penetrating defensive linemen. Carpenter has a hard time climbing to the 2nd level and reaching his blocking assignment. Quickly shuffling and sliding his feet is a problem area for Carpenter. His slow feet hinders his ability to reach the edge in pass protection.
Run Blocking: Keeping his pad level low and his leg drive are the keys to Carpenter's run blocking success. He has a natural bend that allows him to gain leverage. Carpenter gets his head under the chin of the defender and drives his feet to push them off the ball. He possesses heavy hands that allows him to Velcro making it difficult for defenders to disengage. However, his lack of quickness will result in defenders beating him to a gap and penetrating.
Strength: Carpenter shows heavy hands which allows him to remain engaged to his target. He has the strength to control and move players off the line of scrimmage. His powerful base helps him remain balanced after the initial contact at the line. Carpenter doesn't have a very strong punch which impacts his initial jolt to the defender.
Technique: The biggest concern surrounding Carpenter's technique is his inconsistent hand placement. To often, Carpenter gets his hands out on the shoulder of the defender. This hinders his ability to control and push players off the line. Offensive linemen that struggle with hand placement are also a likely target for holding calls. The referee is able to quickly see holding if your hands are on the shoulder of your opponent. In pass protection, Carpenter plays with his hands at his side which results in wasted motions. He needs to bring his arms up before he punches which gives the rusher more of an opportunity to get into his body. However, Carpenter does a good job keeping his pad level low and maintaining leverage.
Games Viewed: LSU, Arkansas, Auburn
Final Word: Overall, I see Carpenter as a late round guard prospect. He doesn't show the ability to hold up in space which will make him a liability in pass protection. The fact that he can anchor and recover fits into what teams are looking for in a guard prospect. However, his height and weight will be an hindrance to playing guard. NFL guards are usually around 6-3 and weight more than 300lbs. His height will make it tough for him to get his hands up quickly and deliver a strong blow."
Positive: Fundamentally sound lineman with potential at a variety of positions on the offensive line. Patient in pass protection, quickly sets up off the snap, and blocks with a wide base. Stays square and is a terrific position blocker who seals defenders from the action. Very effective with his angles, keeps his feet moving, and knocks oncoming rushers from the play. Keeps opponents in front of him, blocks with good lean, and controls defenders once engaged in a block. Effective when he immediately gets his hands up and properly places them into defenders. Keeps his head on a swivel, picks up stunts and twists thrown by the opposition, and shows the ability to adjust.
Negative: Inconsistent using his hands. Lacks a dominant base and is not a drive-blocking lineman. Lacks classic footwork off the edge.
Analysis: Carpenter has been a terrific player for Alabama and is a prospect who does not look the part yet plays well every weekend. He'll be slightly downgraded because of his poor athleticism, but he has potential at guard or possibly left tackle in the right system."
Negatives: Light handed, lacks any real force in his punch... Lacks any real explosion to his game... Not especially strong at POA... Gets a little too upright in pass protection... Will lose some battles for leverage... Will stop his feet on contact... Can be beat by outside speed... Struggles to redirect on quicker inside countermoves... Allows his feet to slide out too wide when anchoring... Will overextend and lose balance... Lacks good contact balance... Doesn't possess the blocking range of a NFL Left Tackle."
Strengths: NFL caliber size, agility, and footwork. Has assimilated exceptionally well from JUCO to the most competitive conference in college football. Handles the pass rush well, and can play either side of the line. Has good athleticism on the outside, pulling and screening very well.
Weaknesses: Doesn't have great football IQ. Might not be starting caliber on the interior. Initial punch leaves something to be desired, and he isn't a road-grater. Could be out-powered by the next level bull rush.
Projection: Currently predicting Carpenter to come off the board in rounds 3-4. Physically, he's comparable to Adam Snyder in size. Very tall, athletic guy with questionable strength."
James Carpenter showcases exceptional Range and good Lateral Agility, but his Crouch, his Power to Drive the Run Game, his Strength to Anchor against the Pass Rush, and his Mechanics all need a lot of work.
Were he projected as a Late Rounder, I'd call him a Project, but as a Mid Rounder in a thin Market...
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