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The Top Ten Seahawks Stories That Weren't: #6: John Carlson is Slow

Pick Analysis: The Seahawks selection of Carlson comes at somewhat of a surprise with a player like Fred Davis still on the board. But in Carlson Seattle gets a player who has solid blocking potential, though he appears limited in his pass-catching ability.

John Carlson seen relaxing outside Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Carlsons are shrinking across the globe.

John Carlson ran a 4.89/40. That led many keyboards a-wagging and Carlson plunging down irrelevant boards on irrelevant draft splogs.

Dustin Keller ran a 4.55/40. He also did a bunch of other miraculous stuff: 38" vert; ate glass; swallowed the ocean whole.

How important is .33 seconds? Depends how you look at it. It can be insignificant or outright meaningless. The two were virtually identical to ten, 1.63 for Carlson versus 1.62 for Keller. The difference came in the next ten. Carlson didn't show much "second gear" averaging only 8.4 yards per second from the ten to twenty yard markers. Keller really began to distance himself here, averaging 9.71 per second. How much is that worth? Let's say each ran a deep out, twenty yards and then into the flat, it would take Carlson 2.82 seconds to get to his cut point versus 2.65 for Keller. That might be meaningful in two plays a season. Overall, Carlson averaged about 8.18 yards per second. Keller averaged about 8.79 yards per second. If both ran a go route, and their quarterback had a very long time in the pocket, say five seconds, Keller would be able to run 3.06 more yards than Carlson.

This is dumb, huh?

A handful of NFL players challenge with their top end speed. Those players force schematic adjustments from opposing defenses and help improve their teammates' play. Many, many more players challenge deep with a combination of other talents. Those players force schematic adjustments from opposing defenses and help improve their teammates' play.

The truth is: Carlson probably isn't very fast. Word is he was sick prior to attending the combine, but his 40 didn't improve much (4.72) on favorable footing at Notre Dame. He's probably not a whole lot faster than Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates. He has been a good deep threat. He has seventeen receptions of 15+ and ten receptions of 20+. The man who outclassed him at the Combine has eleven and seven. (Factoid: How precise is Mike Holmgren's offense? Carlson has seven receptions of 16 or 17 yards. Before week thirteen, his deeper routes ran between 20 and 25. Since, Holmgren has added more corner patterns and Carlson's five 20+ are 25, 25, 27, 28 and 33.) Carlson has bettered Keller in receptions, yards, yards per catch, touchdowns, DYAR, DVOA, catch percentage and yards after catch. The man who ran wild over a sea of jobbers has averaged only 3.35 yards after the catch. The man so slow his ass fossilizes waiting for his legs has averaged 4.3 yards after the catch.

John Carlson isn't slow. He lacks top end speed. So much for those essential tight end go routes.