By Tom E. Curran
INDIANAPOLIS - If someone advised Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi to appear confident, he heeded that advice. Carimi matter-of-factly proclaimed himself the best tackle in the year's draft class on Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. Asked if he had any butterflies about the Combine workouts, Carimi said, "I'm completely confident in my game. I really don't have any problems. I know I'm going out there and perform. I know I'm the best tackle out there and I just have to play like it and act like it."The 6-foot-7, 315-pound Carimi is regarded as one of the top five at his position.Wes Bunting of the National Football post has Carimi as the second-best tackle behind USC's Tyron Smith. Pro Football Weekly has Carimi third behind Smith and BC's Anthony Castonzo. Castonzo, who stepped to the podium right after Carimi, was told of Carimi's proclamation. "That's his opinion," Castonzo said quickly. What will determine who's the best, Castonzo was asked."It's what we've already put on film," he said. "I'm not gonna stand up here and say I'm better than him or he's better than me. It's for the scouts to decide based on what we put on film. This is just the capper right here."Castonzo did mention that he's enjoying Carimi. It's hard not to. A few other nuggets . . . Asked about Ohio State's defense: "We drove on them like I don't think anyone did this year. On a Michigan State defender (sorry, question inaudible). "I did really good against him, he had like one tackle." On readiness: "I know I can play right away. I think that's the best aspect of me. I'm a draft-ready tackle that will be able to play in the National Football League next year." Carimiplayed guard at the Senior Bowl but says no teams are considering him for that. "Realistically, I'm a tackle." He says he can play either side. There's a lot of interest in Carimi. He said he's met with most teams. He confirmed he'd spoken to the Ravens, but when asked about the Patriots he answered,"I don't know. I can't comment on the Patriots. Ask the Patriots."Kid's a natural.