Rookie Profile - Week 3 (John Carlson)

  Posted 9/17 by Jeff Tefertiller, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

Player: John Carlson

College: Notre Dame

Drafted: 2nd round Round, 38th overall

College Stats

redshirt season

College Highlights

One of the top tight ends in the nation and a bona fide All-America candidate ... approved for a fifth year by Notre Dame's Faculty Board on Athletics since he did not play as a freshman ... named a second-team All-American by SI.com and one of three finalists for the Mackey Award (nation's top tight end) in 2006 ... only 2006 Mackey Award finalist who returns in 2007 ... named a first-team preseason All-American by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele ... selected as second-team preseason All-American by Street & Smith's and Lindy's ... rated as the No. 1 tight end in the nation by Phil Steele, the No. 2 tight end by Lindy's and the third-best tight end by The Sporting News ... ranked the top tight end by Mel Kiper ... one of the three tight ends named to the Maxwell Award Watch List ... became 49th Notre Dame football player and 181st student-athlete at the school to be named an ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-American ... recorded 60 career receptions for 721 yards and five touchdowns ... ranks fifth all-time at Notre Dame for career catches by a tight end and needs three to move into third, 33 to move into second and 69 to become the all-time leader ... joins Maurice Crum Jr., Travis Thomas and Tom Zbikowski as 2007 captains. (from cstv.com)

Other quotes:
Mike Lombardi from The National Football Post had this to say:

I think Carlson is going to be a star ... Mike Holmgren knows how to use a tight end (Zorn must have missed this section of the Seattle playbook based on his attempts to get the ball to one of his best players Chris Cooley) and Carlson is the best tight end he has had since Chmura.

2008 Production To Date

Through just two games, the rookie from Notre Dame has amassed 10 catches for 130 yards. The poor play of Matt Hasselbeck has limited the scoring opportunities in the passing game but the yardage numbers are strong. This production is good for a Top 10 fantasy ranking through the first two games.

Best Game To Date

After seeing little action in preseason, Carlson has started the season with two strong games. Against the 49ers in week two, John Carlson caught six of his eight targets for 78 yards. This followed a four-catch, 52-yard performance in week one.

Situation In 2008

John Carlson is one of the best receiving options for the Seattle Seahawks. With Deion Branch, Nate Burleson and Bobby Engram all sidelined with injury, the team has few other weapons. Carlson is a good NFL tight end prospect that excels in the passing game. He, like most other rookie tight ends, struggles with the blocking aspect of the pro game. It is the most difficult part for rookies at the position. Even with his soft hands and good route-running, those expecting huge fantasy production from the rookie will be disappointed. Yes, he might have some good games, but the Seahawk offense is struggling. This appears to be a team that will have issues moving the ball in 2008, which will limit the opportunities for the rookie tight end to score. Plus, his targets should decrease once Branch and Engram come back to the lineup.

Long-term Situation

Carlson will be a focal point of the offense for a long time. He is one of the few young players on the Seahawk offense. As with other rookie tight ends, improvement will come in year two. Bobby Engram is at the end of his career. Deion Branch cannot stay healthy. With the new coaching staff expected in 2009, John Carlson should be at the center of the future plans. For fantasy football, Carlson does have ability and can produce Top 12 numbers. But, the Seahawk offense needs to improve its personnel for him to be consistent.

Potential Upside

The rookie from Notre Dame has the look of an "old school" tight end. He is big, has good hands, and runs good routes. If Seattle can upgrade the running game and the offensive line, John Carlson can have a Wesley Walls-type of career. That is probably his absolute ceiling, but the youngster benefits from learning the West Coast Offense from one of the greats, Mike Holmgren. The most probable career projection would be similar to Chmura and his top finishes before injury. Carlson is limited in his tackle-breaking and speed, so he might not have many huge receiving games like Gates or Gonzalez. Expect John Carlson to be a solid NFL tight end that should be at least a strong fantasy TE2 for many years.

College Profile from NFL.com

Positives: Has good bone structure with a thick chest, broad shoulders and firm arm muscles...Has decent midsection definition, wide hips and thick thighs and calves...Shows good lower-body strength in the weight room, but needs to translate to the football field, especially when asked to block in-line...Has a good work ethic and a team-first attitude...Adds to his value as a capable coverage defender, playing on all special teams...Self-starter who puts in the extra hours studying game film...Has a fluid short-area running stride (will drift and slow down considerably on long patterns)...Shows good toughness on the field and good courage going for the ball in a crowd...Model program player and respected team captain...Has better quickness out of his stance as a receiver than as a blocker, but needs to use his hands to get a clean release...When he utilizes his swim move, he has good success escaping the press...Even though he is not the fastest on the field at his position, he has had decent success as a seam threat, but is best when asked to locate the soft area and settle in the zone...Lacks the ability to make speed cuts, but gathers making his cuts and shows adequate straight-line quickness...Does a good job of tracking the ball and extending for the pass outside his frame...Works through and around traffic well and shows enough in-stride quickness to elude some second-level defenders...Works to get open over the middle and has natural hands to secure the ball (very rare to see him use his body to catch)...Gets some separation off his cuts (only when he keeps his pads down) and likes contact working inside for the ball...He is assertive in a crowd and his basketball leaping ability is evident when competing for the jump balls...Has good body control to uncover and shows good ball security upon contact...Lacks the speed to turn upfield after the catch, but will give extra effort in attempts to generate extra yardage...Marginal in-line blocker, but takes good angles and will stalk linebackers when working in space.

Negatives: Has had knee problems (left in 2005 and right in 2006) that might need further medical evaluation...Has adequate timed speed, but lacks an array of moves and fails to generate a good burst to separate from defenders after the catch...Liability as a deep threat, as he struggles to maintain acceleration (feet tend to die) when having to run long patterns...Needs to be quicker coming out of his stance and into his routes...Loses balance due to poor footwork, whether in his patterns or when generating a kick slide in pass protection...Needs to lower his pads better in order to settle on underneath routes and has to keep his hands active in attempts to beat the jam...Has just adequate playing strength and struggles to gain movement off the snap, especially when a two-gap defender is lined up in front of him...More of a one-cut runner with little hip snap or wiggle to escape after the catch...Lacks that punishing hand jolt to shock a defender and needs to anchor better, as he fails to roll his hips and plant his foot in the ground when facing up to the bull rush...When stood up at the line, the defender can latch on and walk him back into the pocket (must do a better job with his hand placement)...More of a waist bender, making him look sluggish trying to set up and recoil his hands in pass protection (spends time on the ground, as he will lose balance when he narrows his base)...Despite his big frame, he struggles to break arm tackles and second-level defenders take him down at the point of his catch... Does not have the shake to escape from the defender in the open field...Needs to get his head around better and show better arm extension to look the ball in over his outside shoulder...Allows too much penetration when trying to block in-line and needs to use his hands when trying to seal and sustain blocks.

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