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NFL Combine Wrap Up: TE: Jesus, John Carlson's Slow!

Yeah, how about that. Oh wait, now I remember! The 40 is irrelevant. That's right. Without access to his splits, I can't be sure, but I'd wager that Carlson's crappy 40 is the product of poor top speed. In fact, top end speed is really, above everything else, what the 40 measures. So we can be pretty sure now that if Carlson ever needs to run 40 yards in a single direction, padless, that he's not likely to lose anyone in his slow motion cloud of dust. Carlson performed well in the 20 and 60 Yard Shuttles, drills more dependent on agility than top speed. The upshot of Carlson's struggles is that few still look at him as a first round talent.

Helping the cause was Martellus Bennett who did enough on the track (4.68), the pad (34") and the podium to convince Matt Millen to spend his first round pick, his daughter and a night with his wife for the honor of sharing a shower with him. Seriously though, Bennett looks like the first tight end off the board and likely the only one capable of breaching the first round. Fellow much hyped TE, and John Mackey Award winner, Fred Davis, eschewed participation in all but the bench. He'll wait until USC's Pro Day to disappoint.

It was a tale of two statures for the no-name standouts: Dustin Keller and Brad Cottam. It was one step forward, two inches back for Keller--and that right there is the lamest line of my young writing career. Keller lit up the 40 (4.53) and posted an impressive Vert (38") before reminding one and all that, oh yeah, he's essentially a slow wide receiver. Funny world the NFL is, where a 6'2" man must lie about his height. Cottam is decidedly not a wide receiver and may win this year's tight end drafted to become an offensive tackle award. That is, unless someone with flies in their eyes fails to notice that he had 21 total receptions in college. Neither matter much to Seattle.

Carlson should be around should Seattle want him. The Big Three on the Tight End boards remain the big three and the only three likely to be drafted in the first day of the draft. Carlson fits both Tim Ruskell's fastidious character standards and Mike Holmgren's preferred profile: A tight end who actually plays tight end: aligns at the end of the line, blocks, splits the seam and thrives in the Red Zone. If he's not a Hawk come May, well...I'll swear off Deer for a month.