It seems fitting that on the day Jerry Angelo rips current Bear QBs, his last 1st round pick with the Bears, Gabe Carimi (29th overall in 2011), was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs were Carimi’s 2nd team in his brief 3-year career. Just keep that in mind before you put any stock in Angelo’s critique of Cutler; Player analysis and projection weren’t exactly Angelo’s forte, though drafting Forte in the second round of the 2009 draft was an inspired move.
Back to Carimi, he was drafted out of Wisconsin in 2011 to solve the Bears problems at LT. He actually started out well and after a strong training camp was named opening day starter at right tackle his rookie season. He held his own the first two games of the year (.6 grade), until suffering a gruesome injury in week 2 vs the Saints. Carimi’s kneecap was dislocated and it required multiple surgeries to fix it. Maybe his injury derailed what would have been a great career, but Carimi came back in 2012 and played all 16 games, just didn’t play them well. He was replaced at RT by John Scott (yeesh!) in week 11 and moved to guard for the remainder of the season.
The brief experiment at guard didn’t work much better and in the 2013 off-season, the Bears dealt Carimi to the Bucs for just a 6th round pick. When all the Bears could get was a 6th rounder for a guy who was supposedly healthy and just two years removed from being a first round pick, it’s a bad sign.
Carimi started the first two games of the 2013 season for the Bucs at left guard, but struggled and was benched before week 3. Carimi rarely left the bench from that point on, never playing more than 16 snaps in a game the rest of the way. Carimi was released by the Bucs and new coach Lovie Smith this morning. The fact that Lovie Smith, who was familiar with Carimi, wasn’t even willing to give him a chance in training camp is telling.
I hope Carimi catches on somewhere and is at least given a shot to resurrect his career, but it’s looking like he’ll go down as one of the bigger 1st round busts in Bears history. Not quite as bad as Michael Haynes (drafted 14th overall by Angelo) or Chris Williams (also 14th overall by Angelo) at least, but pretty darn close. Probably the best part of Carimi’s legacy with the Bears was his nickname, “The Bear Jew”, coined by Dan Bernstein from the Score 670.