When a first round pick is announced and there's an audible "who?" followed by stunned silenced, it's probably safe to classify it as a reach. That was exactly the reaction the Seattle Seahawks were faced with when Roger Goodell stepped to the podium and announced James Carpenter, an offensive tackle from Alabama, was the No. 25 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Like sharks sensing blood in the water, the pundits circled and got ready to rumble as soon as the pick was announced.
And it's hard to blame them. The Seahawks justified the decision by saying Carpenter was a guy they liked and when the opportunity to trade down never came to fruition, they had to pull the trigger. But seeing a player almost every analyst had as as second, or even third, round pick come off the board at No. 25 was quite the surprise, both in New York and back in Seattle.
In fact, even Carpenter was surprised by the pick, though he was grateful.
New #Seahawks draft pick James Carpenter said he thought he’d be a second-round pick. "I’m glad somebody had faith in me."
That's not to say he won't be successful, but, in all likelihood, he would've been available when the Seahawks turn came around in the second round, at pick No. 57. The Seahawks had him ranked high on their board and when an attempt to trade down never materialized, head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider pulled the trigger and took Carpenter to address a need on the offensive line.
It doesn't change the fact he was a tremendous reach, leaving many scratching their heads, wondering what was going on in Seattle.