We are over a week into training camp for the Green Bay Packers and we are already learning so much about this team. Sure, we know a good amount about who the likely starters are and who will make the team. But there are also some surprises. Some are good, and some are not so good.
One of the positive surprises so far is the emergence of Tariq Carpenter.
Carpenter, a second-year player out of Georgia Tech, didn’t provide a whole lot to get excited about. At least in my mind. The Packers drafted him in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Immediately after he was picked and you read up on him a bit you knew, this was a Rich Bisaccia pick. Carpenter is going to be a special teams guy.
And in his first season in Green Bay, that’s what he was. He appeared in 14 games as a rookie. He was a part of 138 total snaps. 122 of those snaps were on special teams, according to pro-football-reference.com. But what else can you expect from a seventh-round rookie? Especially a guy buried on the depth chart.
The Packers try something new with Carpenter
This season, however, the Packers decided to try something new with Carpenter. They moved him to linebacker. He was already a bigger safety, standing 6-3 and weighing 230 pounds. It felt like it was going to be a crash course. Or even worse, a last-ditch effort to get him on the field in some capacity, similar to Jonathan Garvin’s move to the defensive line. Garvin lasted about two practices before the team decided to cut him loose.
But Carpenter, on the other hand, has gone the other way with things. He’s been making the most of the transition, showing what he can do in front of 73,000+ fans at Lambeau Field on Family Night. In the limited amount of time the practice was actually shown on TV, Carpenter had not one, but two interceptions during some live periods.
Granted, one kind of fell into his lap, but you still have to make a bang-bang play to secure the deflection and he did.
Now, I don’t think Packers fans are going to be under any illusion that Carpenter is going to start getting serious playing time in the upcoming season. But it makes me, for one, feel a little better knowing the depth at the linebacker position is in a better place than I thought it was before training camp started. Having speed and some coverage ability as a linebacker in today’s NFL is always important.
Making the 53-man roster and contributing to special teams is still going to be a priority. But we’ll see if he can continue to build on his success moving forward.Christian Borman is a lifelong Packers fan residing in the Madison area. He writes for PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter @christianborman.