Drew Boylhart February 2008
John Carlson   TE   Notre Dame

John is one of the best all around TEís in this draft.  He is a solid blocker who runs excellent routes and has very good hands to catch the ball.  He is smart and is willing to do all the grunt work thatís required for any player to be a good TE.  John reminds me a lot of Jason Witten (TE Dallas Cowboys) and Anthony Fasano (TE Dallas Cowboys).  They all have that same all around talent to play their position.  It took a few years for Jason to impact and it will take a few years for John, but the wait will be worth it.  John is a quality kid and has the talent to be a quality TE at the next level. 
John will need to get stronger in both his upper and lower body, but it will be just a matter of time.  When he bulks up, he will become one of the better all around TEís in the league. 
There is no easy way to say this, so Iíll just tell you outright.  If you need a TE that can run, block and catch the ball, then you need to draft John.  Itís just that simple.  Most people will downgrade John because he was not as flashy catching the ball this year as he was in years past.  The truth is the QB position for Notre Dame was a mess this year and John had to do more in-line blocking than in the past.  It was the best thing that could have happened to John because he learned more about the TE position this year than ever before.  In-line blocking for a TE is the most difficult part of playing the TE position and John is a better TE for learning it.  He doesnít have great speed, but he has good speed and John can catch the ball and adjust to a ball in the air very much like a Wide Receiver.  He must get bigger and that will take a year, but as he grows, he can impact on special teams and on third downs as a pass catching TE.  He is that good and is that ready.  John is going to become a core player for the team that drafts him and a favorite target for a lucky QB who is on the team that drafts him.  The best way for me to describe John Carlson is that he is a quality kid with quality talent who will become a fan favorite and a QBís favorite target to keep the chains moving on third down.