Tariq Carpenter’s special-teams potential factored into his drafting

Credit: Danny Karnik

Credit: Danny Karnik

The Green Bay Packers don’t know yet whether former Georgia Tech safety Tariq Carpenter will be a safety or a linebacker for them after drafting him in the seventh round of the NFL draft. But, based on comments made by general manager Brian Gutekunst after the draft on Saturday, they do know he’ll be contributing on special teams.

In response to a question in a post-draft news conference about how much the team weighed the potential to contribute on special teams with its four seventh-round picks, Gutekunst responded, “We were looking at that a bunch. And certainly, guys like Carpenter and stuff, that factored in.”

Actually, aside from his role on the field-goal and extra-point defense unit, Carpenter actually did not play a great deal of special teams this past season for the Yellow Jackets. He was on the field for three kickoff returns and seven punt returns, according to Pro Football Focus.

But certainly he has the mix of size, speed and hitting ability to contribute.

“He’s a little bit of a tweener, because he’s got the size of a linebacker and he plays safety and he has that kind of speed,” Gutekunst said. “I think he’s really, really physical, so I think we’ll kind of figure out exactly how he fits, whether he goes to the safety room or to the linebacker room at different times and what packages he plays in on defense. But certainly on special teams, that was one of the big reasons we took him.”

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