I use this line a lot but...
Our long national nightmare ends.
24 hours of gripping drama--over.
Seattle has agreed to terms with John Carlson. (hat tip, lemonverbena)
Here's your Carlson scouting report.
Updated analysis follows.
Skills are broken down from a ++ to --. ++ are complete skills, pro ready. -- are glaring weaknesses. The kind of faults that can fell an otherwise top talent.
Route Running: Very fluid route runner in a demanding system. Crisp cuts, clean lines and excellent field awareness.
Conditioning: Maintains high level of play into 4th quarter.
Hands: Snatches the ball away from his body and quickly secures it. Consistent receiver who can make some hard catches.
Release: Gets off the line quickly and fights off the press effectively. Works his way through traffic and adjusts route for defenders.
Overall Athleticism: Smooth, no hitches in his run even when changing direction. Can lose his feet from under him.
Agility: Maintains speed into and out of cuts. Knows how to add a little speed when entering the soft spot in a zone or when shedding a defender.
Zone Awareness: Adjusts routes to zone coverage, consistently finds openings.
Blocking: Surprised? I was. A tenacious and spirited blocker when he engages, Carlson too often misses his assignment, losing position or being run around. Has the foundation of an excellent blocker, but exits college more of a support blocker.
Overall Speed: Speed tops out quickly. Doesn't look significantly faster after 10 yards than he does after 5.
RAC: Brings the fight to the defender, but isn't bruising. Lacks the agility to be much of a force in the open field in the NFL. Will not run away from NFL defenders.
Boxing Out Defenders: This could be the product of late throws, but I watched Carlson allow way too many defenders to make a play for the ball from behind. Needs to improve his ability to use his body position to remove the defender from the play.
Summary: Carlson is a good, well-rounded tight end. He's a good blocker and steady force underneath. Many of his skills are pro ready, but an inability to run away from or box out defenders might limit his deep ability. The later may also limit his viability as a red zone target.
Update: One part positive, one part negative.
+ Carlson is probably better at boxing out defenders than I initially reported. It's very hard to attribute blame when a pass is tipped from behind. It could be that the receiver didn't properly box out the defender, letting him get back into the play. It could be that the quarterback is very slow to pass, or very obvious who he is passing to. When you hear scouts talk about "patting the ball" or a slow delivery, some of that is about losing the window of openness. Even the best receivers can only block the defenders so long. Most of the footage I watched on Carlson was from 2007. Evan Sharpley stared down Carlson, and Jimmy Clausen had a slow read, hesitant delivery. Upon further consideration, I think we'll just have to wait and see if boxing out defenders was Carlson's problem or if Clausen and Sharpley were Carlson's problem.
- It might be time to consider if Carlson is injury prone. He's twice missed time with a sprained MCL, and seems prone to bangs and bruises. Injury prone is among the scarier attributes that can be assigned a rookie and you hate to hear about reoccurring knee problems.