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The Green Bay Packers are planning to have seventh-round pick Tariq Carpenter start his NFL career at the inside linebacker position. Carpenter, the 228th overall pick, played 52 games at Georgia Tech, mostly at safety.
In Green Bay, he’ll get a chance to be a hybrid player.
“Tariq, we’re going to move him to the inside linebacker room. He’s a big guy, but he can run,” coach Matt LaFleur told Packers.com.
Carpenter fits the profile of a hybrid safety/linebacker. He’s 6-3 and 230 pounds but ran the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds (1.55-second 10-yard split) and posted elite numbers in the vertical (39″) and broad jumps (11-4).
Mix the length and athleticism with Carpenter’s physicality against the run and experience playing in the box, and a transition to linebacker was always likely. He transitioned to linebacker at the Senior Bowl during the pre-draft process, giving the Packers a preview of how he could handle the position.
In many ways, Carpenter looks like a discounted version of 2020 first-round pick Isaiah Simmons.
Here’s how Carpenter compares athletically as a linebacker to Simmons, a standout safety for Clemson who moved to linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals:
In time, Carpenter could play an important role as a subpackage linebacker who operates on all special teams groupings. Early on, his calling card – and path to the roster – will come on Rich Bisaccia’s special teams.
General manager Brian Gutekunst wasn’t sure what position Carpenter would play but was confident he’d be a factor on special teams due to his size and speed.
“He’s a little bit of a tweener because he has the size of a linebacker but he plays safety and he has that kind of speed. He’s really, really physical,” Gutekunst said. “We’ll figure out exactly how he fits, whether he goes to the linebacker room or safety room at different times and what packages he plays in on defense, but certainly on special teams is one of the reasons we took him.”
Carpenter will be No. 24 in Green Bay. He is currently listed as a safety on the team’s official roster.