RENTON, Wash. - Knowing very little about the Pacific Northwest other than stereotypes, James Carpenter showed up for his introduction by the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday morning wearing a sturdy pair of all-weather boots.
Smart move for a rookie the Seahawks hope will solidify the right side of their offensive line for quite a while.
"We tried to stay under the radar with this guy," Seattle general manager John Schneider said. "We told our group yesterday that we were very proud of them that his name never got out."
Carpenter was grabbed with the 25th overall selection on Thursday night with the expectation that he will begin the 2011 season -- whenever that happens -- as the Seahawks' new right tackle.
It's not that much different than the expectations placed on Carpenter when he arrived at Alabama two years ago as a transfer from Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. Carpenter came to Alabama, took over the starting spot at left tackle and never left, starting all 27 games he played for the Crimson Tide.
"James really played well for us in his two years and really developed nicely and made a tremendous amount of improvement," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "I know people really like his athleticism."
Carpenter takes after his parents and is soft-spoken. But the youngest of three kids will take up a lot of space on the Seahawks offensive line. Carpenter is 6-foot-4 and 322 pounds.
He's massive and thick, and appears at first glance larger than Russell Okung, the No. 6 overall pick by Seattle in last year's draft. But Carpenter can move, known as a physical run blocker who use to play basketball.
"Point guard, right?" Seattle coach Pete Carroll joked.
Added Carpenter, "Yes, I can dunk."
Seattle followed up on drafting Carpenter by nabbing Wisconsin guard John Moffitt in the third round, showing a commitment to revamping an offensive line that struggled with injuries and inconsistency in Carroll's first season in charge. New assistant head coach Tom Cable said Friday night he envisions an offensive line with Carpenter (right tackle), Moffitt (right guard), Max Unger (center) and Okung at left tackle, with a hole needing to be filled at left guard.
"We're just going to be physical and be a great offensive line and block for the running backs," Carpenter said.
Carpenter said one of the players he respected growing up was Seattle left tackle Walter Jones, a good name to drop around Seahawks headquarters. When Carpenter can return depends on a resolution in the NFL lockout, but the rookie is excited for the chance to bring his physical style to the Seahawks.
"That's the (most fun) part of the game. I just love being physical and just beating the player in front of me," Carpenter said. "That's the part I love the most. I have a lot of those memories."