First-round pick Carpenter eager to start NFL career

The Seahawks don’t have to worry about their first-round draft pick, offensive tackle James Carpenter, not doing what he can to be ready when training camp starts. Carpenter was grinding away in conditioning drills — as he has for weeks — with roughly two dozen NFL players at Competitive Edge Sports in Atlanta. That’s where I caught up with him on Monday.

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It’s also where Carpenter’s ascension in the draft began, so I learned.

Longtime NFL and college offensive line coach Larry Beightol helps CES founder Chip Smith train athletes for the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine. After working with Carpenter for a few days before the Senior Bowl, Beightol called a friend on the Seahawks’ coaching staff and told him they really needed to take a good look at Carpenter because he had great feet and was a perfect fit for the zone-blocking scheme new O-line coach Tom Cable likes to use.

Beightol gave more than one scouting report. How much of Beightol’s repeated lobbying played into the Seahawks’ decision can be debated, but his endorsement did play a role.

Some quick takes from Carpenter, who weighs 323 pounds, right around his playing weight at Alabama:

On the lockout: “I want to learn everything I can about my offense. I’m ready to get up there and get to work. I hope this ends quick. The best I can do right now is keep training and hopefully when I get there I can pick it up. I’m a fast learner and that offense is a lot like what we did at Alabama with the zone blocking.”

On whether he’s been told he’ll be the starting right tackle, opposite last season’s first-round pick, left tackle Russell Okung: “Coach (Pete) Carroll told me I’m going to have to compete. I don’t know where I am going to end up playing, but I’m going to have to compete for whatever I get.”

On if he was as surprised as a lot of people that he was taken in the first round: “I was. I really didn’t have any idea. I was waiting to get drafted. I’m happy to get drafted by the Seahawks.”

On practicing against the draft’s third overall pick (Buffalo) Marcell Dareus and playing against 13th overall pick (Detroit DT) Nick Fairley: “Marcell is the best player I ever played against. Fairley is pretty good. I had good competition.”

Carpenter trains where roughly 30 Raiders players will be training for three days this week as part of a “minicamp” organized by veteran defensive end Richard Seymour. Carpenter said he’ll be asking those players about Cable, his style and gathering any information that could help him make the transition to the NFL quicker.