Tight End - Notre Dame
Combine Height: 6-5
Combine Weight: 255
Combine 40 Time: 4.8
Caught 40 balls for 372 yards and three touchdowns.
Carlson isn’t a genre-busting tight end in the Antonio Gates or Jeremy Shockey mode. He is, however, a reliable route-runner with the football smarts to find the soft spots in a zone, and he’ll consistently make both the easy and difficult catches. He’s not an overpowering blocker by any stretch—in fact, most scouts believe he’ll need to hit the weight room to play on Sundays—and he’s not going to stretch the field like the converted wide receivers that pass for tight ends these days. However, his combine 40 time is deceptive; a bout of food poisoning cost him 15 pounds and he was still rounding back into shape. Overall, Carlson does enough things well to be considered one of the top tight ends on the board.
Some teams want a tight end to play the slot and sprint downfield; for them, there’s Dustin Keller and Kellen Davis. Carlson will appeal to teams who ask their tight ends to both block and catch passes. In the second half of Round Two that could be the Vikings, Seahawks, Packers or Colts. If he stays on the board into Sunday the Bengals, Saints (assuming no trade for Shockey), and Bills come into play as well.
Rookie tight ends don’t do much, though if Carlson lands with a tight end friendly offense like the Packers or Seahawks he’ll be a tempting endgame addition on fantasy draft day; to paraphrase the Gin Blossoms, don’t expect too much from him and you might not be let down. Eventually it’s not difficult to see Carlson grow into a complete NFL tight end with an upside of 500 yards and a half-dozen touchdowns. But since the league is full of that kind of tight end, you likely have better use for a dynasty league roster spot.