As we countdown to the NFL Draft starting on May 8, I will spend anywhere from 4-8 hours to break down the strengths and weaknesses of at least the top 20 or so offensive skill-position prospects available in this draft.
Hands: 9 5/8”
Important NFL Combine Numbers
40-Yard Dash: 4.75
Vertical Jump: N/A
Broad Jump: N/A
20-Yard Shuttle: N/A
Background (College Stats)
Seferian-Jenkins recorded 126 catches in high school, played in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl and was a four-star recruit by Rivals.com that was ranked as the second-best tight end prospect in the country in 2011, behind only Florida State’s Nick O’Leary and ahead of draft classmate Jace Amaro. He made an immediate impact in his first season on campus, finishing in a tie for second on the team in receptions (41) and touchdowns (six). He took a week off before joining the Washington basketball team – something football coach Steve Sarkisian had promised he would have a chance to do during the recruiting process – and played 17 games as a reserve post player with the Huskies. Seferian-Jenkins decided to focus on football thereafter and tore up the Pac-12 in 2012, registering 69 catches for 852 yards and seven scores en route to being named a Mackey Award semifinalist and earning second-team all-conference honors. He entered his junior season holding the school’s career records for tight ends in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns, but encountered as much adversity as he faced in his short college stay when he was charged with DUI in March 2013 – which resulted in a one-game suspension to open the season – and underwent surgery to repair a broken pinkie finger later in the year. Nevertheless, the third-team All-American won what amounted to be the lifetime achievement Mackey Award despite posting career lows in receptions (36) and yards (450) in 2013 as the Huskies focused more on tempo and explosive plays than they had in either of his first two seasons. Doctors discovered Seferian-Jenkins had a stress fracture in his left foot during his medical exam at the NFL Combine, which meant he would undergo surgery to repair it and not be able to participate in combine workouts and or at Washington’s pro day.
NFL Player Comp(s): A less physical and aggressive Rob Gronkowski
- Prototypical build, excellent hands and impressive body control for a man of his size; provides a huge, reliable target for his quarterback in every situation, especially in the red zone.
- Has natural feel and excels at finding the gaps in zone coverage while also using his mass to shield off a defender.
- More than willing to work the middle of the field and absorb the big hit if necessary.
- While not a speed demon, he makes a surprising number of downfield catches 15 or more yards down the field (highest of the top tight end prospects in his draft).
- Despite expected quickness deficiencies, he ran a number of wide receiver routes – especially in 2012 – and seems to embrace the advantage he has against undersized defensive backs in such situations.
- Stepped up as a speed rusher at defensive end in 2012 when Huskies were struggling to mount a pass rush.
- Capable of breaking a tackle or two after the catch, but not overly elusive or explosive.
- Will challenge the seam with deceptive speed, but projects as an intermediate threat as opposed to a big-play threat.
- Could do a better job at maintaining focus outside of red zone and plays with too much finesse, needs to play with more aggressiveness in order to fulfill immense all-around potential.
- Not the dominating run blocker his size would suggest he should be, although he gives good effort consistently and holds up well at the point of attack.
- Injuries (broken finger, stress fracture in his left foot) and off-field issues (charged with DUI) became a bit of an issue over the last 12-14 months.
Seferian-Jenkins is likely going to get pushed down into the second day of the draft due to his underwhelming numbers in 2013, but he is easily a more complete tight end right now than the one prospect at the position that will almost certainly be drafted 10-20 picks ahead of him (North Carolina’s Eric Ebron). For what it is worth, Seferian-Jenkins showed elements of Tony Gonzalez in his play in 2012; he was a more impressive (well-rounded) tight end on tape in 2012 – before the foot injury and weight gain – than Ebron was in 2013. Although the 2013 Mackey Award winner paid the price statistically for the Huskies’ decision to focus even more on a fast-paced, big-play offense in 2013 that featured RB Bishop Sankey more than they did the previous year, he showed great maturity by not pouting and improved as a blocker to his credit. Additionally, it was rather amazing how often Washington QB Keith Price did not look in Seferian-Jenkins’ direction (outside of the 20s, that is) in 2013, suggesting the coaching staff may have decided to use him more as a decoy. Seferian-Jenkins should enjoy a long and successful stay in the NFL and, so long as he lands with a team that recognizes him for what he is – a first-down machine capable of dominating in the red zone – he could easily be every bit as decorated as Ebron when their careers come to a close.