From Prospect To Pro: Comparing Austin Seferian-Jenkins to Tony Gonzalez
By Ken Scudero
With more passing than ever in the NFL game, offensive coaches will take as many weapons as they can get their hands on. Recent years have shown us how efficiently a tight end can be utilized within the pass game, with monster impacts from huge tight ends like Rob Gronkowsi and Jimmy Graham.
Any team without a 6-foot-5, athletic tight end is looking for one. The best one in the 2014 NFL Draft is Austin Seferian-Jenkins from Washington. I can compare him to Gronk or Graham, but for me, he most resembles Atlanta's future Hall-of-Famer, Tony Gonzalez, and I’ll tell you why.
Seferian-Jenkins is listed at 6-6, 276, and, honestly, sometimes he looks even bigger than that. His blocking on run plays and pass plays alike is outstanding, though when the quarterback drops back, you want him out in the flats or in the middle of the field waiting for a pass. He is one of the best blocking tight ends I’ve ever seen, probably a better blocker than Gonzalez. He also has excellent hands for a tight end and runs with the ball well, just like Gonzalez.
As far as offensive production goes, Seferian-Jenkins is having his worst statistical season 27 rec., 328 yds., 6 TDs). Bt he did miss a game due to a suspension, and Washington quarterback Keith Price, to his credit, has spread the ball around quite well this season. Through three seasons, Seferian-Jenkins has 137 catches, 1,718 yards and 19 TDs.
Gonzalez is known for his size and presence in the back of the end zone, as well as his ability to push off just enough to create separation but not get flagged for interference. He also has had and still has one of the best pairs of hands we’ve ever seen. Like Gonzalez, Seferian-Jenkins simply gets open no matter what part of the field he’s in but getting open isn’t enough. He needs to make the tough catches and he usually does. He can break tackles for a big play, too. At his size, he requires more than one guy to bring him to the ground.
It’s rare for a player to have the size, the athleticism, the hands and the blocking ability that Seferian-Jenkins possesses. He is the most complete tight end prospect we’ve seen since Gonzalez was drafted 13th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1997. I think it is possible Seferian-Jenkins gets selected in the first 15 picks; if not, there’s no chance he gets out of the first round -- he’s just too great of a player.