When offensive lineman Gabe Carimi came out of the University of Wisconsin two years ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a first-round draft grade on him. That’s why general manager Mark Dominik is so excited to have secured him for nothing more than a sixth-round pick in a trade with the Bears.
The two teams completed that deal Monday after the 2010 Outland Trophy winner passed a physical that proved his surgically repaired right knee was sound enough to let him resume a career that two years ago seemed extremely promising to every scout that evaluated him.
“He went just about where we thought he would,’’ Dominik said of Carimi, who was drafted 29th overall in 2011. “We felt like he was a good fit for a mauling type of scheme, someone who was going to be more physical, and that’s why he’s here with us today.’’
The biggest reason Carimi is with the Bucs is because he fell out of favor in Chicago, where his decision to begin skipping offseason workouts in May spurred Dominik to inquire about his availability.
“Anytime the bells and whistles go off and you sense that things are starting to go sideways somewhere, you find out what’s going on and if it makes any sense to you or not,’’ Dominik said.
Despite having several procedures to stabilize the right patellar tendon that he blew out two games into his career, Carimi made sense to the Bucs because he provides them with two things they crave.
“He provides competition, which is our favorite word, at right tackle,’’ Dominik said. “He also adds a lot of depth to our team, because he provides us with a guy who can play inside at guard and outside.’’
Carimi came to the Bears as a tackle and started his career there, but was moved to right guard late last year before the Bears made moves this offseason to replace him.
Carimi’s technique is probably rusty because he’s missed a lot of time on the field the last two years, but Domini is confident Carimi can regain the form that made him so attractive coming out of college.
“It’s nice to have the competition at right tackle in case something happens to (starter Demar Dotson),” Dominik said. “And with the flexibility that he adds, for a sixth-round draft pick it just made too much sense for us.’’