Potential Patriots draftees: Gabe Carimi

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Potential Patriots draftees: Gabe Carimi

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

Heading into the NFL draft, Tom E. Curran plans a series oflooks at potential Patriots draftees. Today's player:Gabe Carimi

Gabe Carimi, 6-7, 314OT,Wisconsin

The Skinny:After an injury-plagued junior season, the cocksure Carimi came back in 2010 and won the Outland Trophy, an award given annually to the best interior lineman (defense or offense) in the country. Carimi was part of a bludgeoning rushing attack for the Badgers. He demonstrated excellent smarts and toughness and a willingness to play through the inevitable dings an offensive lineman will deal with. With the Patriots needing to soon hire the successor to Matt Light at left tackle - or do some shuffling to get Sebastian Vollmer over there from right tackle- they will need a new guy. With BC's Anthony Castonzo and USC's Tyron Smith seemingly stacking up as the most attractive LTs in the draft, that will leave Carimi on the board for New England later in the first round.

Gotta Have Him:Smart, very confident and the kind of player you can probably expect a long and stable career from. Carimi takes football seriously and cares about the craft. He said at the NFL Combine that he's the best left tackle prospect in the draft. Bless his bearded heart for thinking so. He's also played very well against talented competition in the Big Ten.

Don't Need Him:The Patriots' offensive linemen have a unique vibe as a unit. They are very self-effacing, almost shy. Carimi came off as a blowhard at the Combine. An interesting blowhard, a funny blowhard, but a blowhard. Offensive lines are unique battalions and you don't want to upset the group with a dingbat. On-field, it will be a bit of a challenge to figure where best to play Carimi. He thinks he's a left tackle but, as our buddy Wes Bunting at National Football Post points out, he's so much better suited for the right side.

Forecast: Says Bunting, "People think he's a right tackle only. Ideally, he's a right tackle but he can play on the left. He's got strong hands, understands angles and - while he'snot the best of athletes - he's talented. He's a Pro Bowl caliber player on the right side. He's probably adequate on the left. For a team like the Patriots, I'd let him get after it in the run game." The Patriots need to determine whether Carimi is versatile enough for them and whether his personality and skill set fits their team Bunting isn't sure Carimi's boastfulness will be an issue past the draft. "Right now, he is Gabe Carimi the prospect. He seems a good enough guy that he'll be able to read the atmosphere of a team and won't be a diva. He's trying to sell himself right now. In a goodlocker roomlike New England, Baltimore or Pittsburgh, he should be fine."
Patriots Draftability: 7

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)