The NFL Combine was supposed to be a time to prove things for Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
The University of Washington star had won the Maxwell Award as the nation’s top tight end, yet most projections had North Carolina’s Eric Ebron as the best draft-eligible tight end.
After dealing with a junior season that included a DUI arrest, injured pinky and reduced numbers, Seferian-Jenkins was still answering questions about those topics at the combine in late February.
A chance to get in a full workout would have helped answer those questions.
Then, another bump. During his medical examination in Indianapolis, Seferian- Jenkins learned he had a fractured foot. That kept him from running at the combine and caused him to miss UW’s Pro Day.
With the draft coming Thursday, there are still questions about Seferian- Jenkins.
He said two weeks ago his foot was healed. A stock-bumping workout last week seems to confirm that. According to Packersreport.com, scout former Dave-Te’ Thomas said Seferian-Jenkins ran a 4.56-second 40-yard dash while working out for the New York Jets.
Flashback to the combine. Teams wanted to know if Seferian- Jenkins had NFL level speed to go with his NFL-level frame.
“I’m looking to run 4.6-something,” Seferian-Jenkins said at the time.
With the Jets, he apparently cracked that mark. For comparison: The top tight end selected in last year’s draft, Tyler Eifert from Notre Dame, ran a 4.68 40-yard dash at the 2013 combine.
Seferian-Jenkins is confident the skills he used on Montlake to set almost every tight end receiving record put him in a good position to do big things in the NFL.
“My game translates to the NFL because I’m very versatile whatever you need me to do I can do,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “Do you say it’s very pass-happy now, I’ve played receiver and I’ve run routes, I’ve run in the slot. I’ve played almost every single position receiving the ball at the University of Washington and people still run the ball and I still take pride in run blocking and that’s something I can do very well at.”
The Huskies used him in multiple ways. They would throw screens in the flat to him, have him go deep up the seam or play post-up in the end zone.
In 2012, Seferian- Jenkins dominated. He made 69 catches for 852 yards and seven touchdowns. Those numbers went down in 2013, when he missed the first game of the season, because of a suspension following the DUI arrest, and finished with 36 catches for 450 yards, totals below his freshman season’s numbers. Though, he did have a career-high eight touchdowns.
He’s dropped about 20 pounds since last season after bulking up in an attempt to be a better blocker. Where he will land during this week’s draft continues to be a debate topic. The Green Bay Packers have the 21st overall pick and a need for a tight end. There’s talk the Seattle Seahawks would look at tight ends in the first round, though that seems less likely.
Whether the first or second round, Seferian-Jenkins will be a pro by the end of the week, accomplishing something he always wanted.
“I just always envisioned I was going to be playing in the NFL and was going to be ready for the NFL,” he said.