by Field Gulls
Tight End, Notre Dame
With the 55th overall selection in the 2008 SB Nation NFL Mock Draft, the Seattle Seahawks have selected Notre Dame tight end John Carlson. John Morgan, head of the Seahawks community Field Gulls, made the pick and explains himself below:
In 2006, Notre Dame featured the 6th best offense in college football. The 2007 draft stripped them of a starting offensive tackle, Ryan Harris, Guard, Dan Santucci, and star quarterback, Brady Quinn. Wide receiver Rhema McKnight and running back Darius Walker signed as undrafted free agents, and leading wide receiver, Jeff Samardzija signed with the Cubs. The remains fell from 6th to 113th. In less meaningful, but more intelligible terms, a team that had averaged 264 yards a game passing in 2006, dropped to just 167 yards a game passing in 2007. No one player, short of Michael Vick, can make a college offense. Therefore, when we see that John Carlson's production dropped from 47 receptions and 634 yards receiving in 2006 to just 40 receptions and 372 yards receiving in 2007 one must consider the context. He was, after all, the team's leading receiver. Seattle needs a tight end that can play tight end. Mike Holmgren runs the tightest West Coast in the NFL, and his tight ends must be able to inline block, chip, run precise patterns and above all else, actually play the tight end position on the field. You know, off tackle, strong side. While Fred Davis or Dustin Keller might be considered better overall athletes, the 6'3" and 6'2", respectively, "rocked up slot receivers" would be badly mismatched in Holmgren's scheme. Last season, Holmgren squeezed life out of the craggy Marcus Pollard: 15th ranked DPAR, 5th ranked DVOA. Had Pollard run the 40 last season, his time would have been in linemen country, but Seattle's scheme never required burner speed or Gatesian athleticism, only versatility, good timing and deception. See:
I've given Holmgren some grief, above all for his insistence that nothing is wrong with Shaun, but he made a real gutsy play call on 4th and inches on the Hawks opening drive that reminded me just how much I'll miss the Walrus when he retires. Here's what we need to know: Beck starts the quarter with a pass to Hacks for nine. On the next two plays Morris runs for no gain. On the second of the two, Seattle is set up in a single wide, I-back set with an accompanying H-back. It's now 4th and one on the Bears' 40, Seattle sets up in the identical formation. At the snap Beck sells play action, rolls right and delivers a strike to Marcus Pollard. The play nets 20 yards and the first. It can be argued that in general rush plays are more effective in short yardage, but given the Hawks struggles rushing for short yardage and the preceding two plays, this was an impeccable bit of play calling. Holmgren may not be long for the game, but he still shows flashes of the offensive genius that will land him in the Hall.
For all the knocks on Carlson, he is one of a small handful of true tight ends in this class. Despite a suboptimal 40, he's a fluid athlete - besting Dustin Keller in the short shuttle and 3 cone drills (and blew the doors off Martellus Bennett) - a natural hands catcher and a hard working, disciplined, team-first individual. He's also polished, an invaluable asset to a team with title hopes in 2008. The best talent at a position Seattle could badly use an upgrade; A Tim Ruskell pick with the character and discipline he demands; The anti-Jerramy Stevens for a team in need of a football player not an athlete; One can forgive this blogger if he thinks John Carlson was poured into the Blue.
Matt Miller, host of this site as well as owner of New Era Scouting, provides his analysis below:
A very solid pick here by Seattle. They've added a player in Carlson who can come in and start as a rookie. He's a very good receiver, probably the best in the class, and a good blocker as well. To get a player of his value in the second round is a steal. It also fills a huge need.
Grade: A :: John Carlson Scouting Report - New Era Scouting :: Matt Miller's Top Five Prospects Remaining: 1. LB Shawn Crable, 2. RB Jamaal Charles, 3. TE Fred Davis, 4. QB Chad Henne, 5. TE Martin Rucker
The Green Bay Packers, once again represented by the fine folks at Acme Packing Company, are on the clock.