By CHRIS JENKINS
The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 9, 2011; 6:31 PM
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin offensive lineman Gabe Carimi didn't back down from his recent boast that he's the best tackle prospect in the NFL draft.
Carimi raised a few eyebrows last month when he said at the NFL scouting combine that he considers himself the best tackle available in the upcoming draft.
Asked about his comments at Wednesday's pro day workouts in Madison, Carimi explained that he wouldn't have said it if he didn't believe it - and said he told the same thing to the handful of teams who asked him about it.
"They asked me why I thought that," Carimi said. "They asked me why, and I repeated myself. And most of them said they agreed."
Carimi doesn't think his confidence will do anything but help his draft stock.
"I wouldn't see why you wouldn't want a confident player," Carimi said.
Carimi, defensive end J.J. Watt and running back John Clay were among the prospects working out Wednesday. Clay, who had a disappointing 40-yard dash at the combine, said he ran in the low 4.6-second range.
Among the NFL front office personnel present for the workouts were Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy, Packers general manager Ted Thompson and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
Carimi said he's prepared for the possibility of a work stoppage in the NFL, and said his background in the Badgers' offense would give him an edge if incoming rookies aren't allowed to work with coaches during a potential lockout in the offseason.
"I think drafting me, you'd already be way ahead of the curve," Carimi said. "Any o-lineman that's come through this program has a better grasp than, basically, other teams, just (with) the kind of style of offense we run. I do the white board (play diagrams) with coaches, and there's really nothing you can throw at me that I don't know."
Badgers coach Bret Bielema also was present for the workouts, and clarified the way he'll delegate responsibilities for his revised defensive coaching staff.
After former defensive coordinator Dave Doeren took the Northern Illinois head coaching job, the school named Chris Ash and Charlie Partridge as co-defensive coordinators.
Bielema said Wednesday that Ash will be considered the defensive coordinator and call defensive plays, while Partridge will be a co-defensive coordinator and an assistant head coach.
"I really believe on game day, you need one voice, and Chris will be that voice," Bielema said.