Will we have a Top 10 Tight End this year in John Carlson?
The last couple years, our biggest receiver has been our tight end; maybe not necessarily in the numbers department, but certainly in the size and height departments. It’s easy to see why people look at this guy and drool: 6’5, good hands, decent speed and leaping ability. He might not be Antonio Gates, but still, when you’re 6’5, you don’t necessarily have to be a high-jumping freak of nature to make a real impact on the football field.
Anyway, while we’ve brought in Mike Williams to play him in a Height Contest, I think a lot of people are pretty psyched for John Carlson this year. It’s his 3rd season in the league, so the seasoning is there. They brought in Chris Baker to be the “Blocking Tight End”, thereby freeing up Carlson to roam the field. And, let’s face it, he’s been a favorite target of Matt Hasselbeck his first two years, with 106 catches and 12 touchdowns. Not Pro Bowl numbers, but for this team nothing to sneer at.
I’m a little more skeptical. Unless he starts hauling in double-digit touchdowns per season, I don’t see him as ever being a Pro Bowl Tight End as long as Hasselbeck’s under center. Simply put, Matt spreads the ball around TOO much; it’s almost impossible to single out a lone Seahawks receiver as standing above and beyond the rest. Sure, there was that one year Engram caught 94 balls, but that had a lot to do with injuries (saying nothing of the fact that Engram and Hasselbeck practically shared the same brain out there).
The average per-catch numbers for receivers under Hasselbeck are in the 50-60 range.
So, there’s that. Then there’s also the fact that our offensive line isn’t exactly riddled with All Pros. We’re going to be running a lot of 2-TE sets and those TE’s will primarily be helping out in run blocking and pass protection.
Look, I’m not saying Carlson’s going to take a step back or anything. I think he’ll probably catch somewhere around 60 balls for 700 yards and maybe 8 touchdowns. But, it’s pretty rediculous to assume that he’s going to make some gigantic leap and lead the league among pass-catching tight ends. Let’s not forget: he IS still a Seahawk.
Though, while he might not be the best, I think it’s safe to put him in the top 10. Just don’t expect consistent production every single week. Some games, he’ll do a lot of damage for you; others, you wouldn’t even know he played.