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The Green Bay Packers used the 228th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft on Georgia Tech safety/linebacker Tariq Carpenter, an experienced hybrid player who could give the Packers a boost on special teams.
While he wore No. 2 in college, Carpenter will wear No. 24 for the Packers. He’ll get a chance to be a backup at both safety and linebacker while playing an extensive role for special teams coach Rich Bisaccia.
Here are five interesting things to know about Carpenter, the eighth of the Packers’ 11 draft picks in 2022:
Experience in spades
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Carpenter is one of the most experienced players in the Packers draft class. He played in 52 games over five seasons at Georgia Tech, including 50 straight to end his collegiate career. He was a four-year starter and ended up with 41 career starts, all at safety. Carpenter finished his career with 223 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, four interceptions and 22 pass breakups. He was the lone player from Georgia Tech to be taken in the 2022 NFL draft.
Tariq Carpenter is shown during Green Bay Packers rookie camp Friday, May 6, 2022 in Green Bay, Wis.
Carpenter’s unique blend of size (6-3, 230), speed (4.5) and experience gives him the real potential to be a hybrid player. The Packers can play him at safety, his natural position, or move him down in the box as a subpackage linebacker, where he might have the ideal set of traits for playing linebacker in obvious passing situations. Expect him to spend time in both rooms. Carpenter played linebacker during the Senior Bowl, and he has the toughness and physical playstyle necessary for playing in the box and the movement skills for covering linebackers and running backs. The Packers list him as a safety, but coach Matt LaFleur said he’ll likely start his career at linebacker.
Almost aced the pro day
Carpenter, who wasn’t invited to the combine, helped himself greatly during Georgia Tech’s pro day. He showcased his speed, explosiveness and NFL-ready frame for teams. At almost 6-3 and 230 pounds, Carpenter ran the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds (1.55 10-yard split) and hit 39″ in the vertical jump and covered 11-4 in the broad jump. His agility numbers were disappointing for a safety or linebacker, but Carpenter otherwise checked the boxes for size, straight-line speed and lower-body explosiveness. All 32 teams, including the Packers, were in attendance. Later, the Packers invited Carpenter to Green Bay for an official pre-draft visit.
Special teams contributor
Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
The Packers see Carpenter as a potential special teams weapon at the next level. Not only does he have the body type (big, and fast), but he has experience in the third phase from his days at Georgia Tech. During his first two seasons, Carpenter delivered seven special teams tackles covering kicks and punts, including five on kickoffs as a sophomore. His tackling ability is another asset: according to Sports Info Solutions, Carpenter missed just three percent of tackle attempts in 2021 and was one of the top tacklers by missed tackle percentage in the draft class among off-ball linebackers. The Packers will hope Carpenter can use his athletic ability and tackling prowess to make a difference for Bisaccia’s units.
Grew up a Packers fan
— Tariq Carpenter (@RiqSanity) April 30, 2022
Carpenter is from Georgia, but he’s been a fan of the Packers for a long time. After being selected on the third day of the draft, Carpenter posted this photo of himself in a Packers Super Bowl champions shirt on Twitter. “Being a Packer has always been a dream of mine!” Carpenter wrote in the caption.