Austin Seferian-Jenkins from the University of Washington is one of the most physically gifted and impressive looking tight ends in the country; so much so he played some defensive end in spots as well and looked pretty good doing it. He is a member of the football team as well as the Husky basketball team and he looks like a power forward on the football field with his size, strength, and natural athleticism. In his first two years, Jenkins has caught 110 passes for 1,390 yards and 13 touchdowns, setting records for receptions and yards as a tight end at Washington during his sophomore year. He is poised to have a huge season as a junior, pending his being reinstated to the football team. Jenkins had an ugly incident where he was charged for driving a car into a ditch while under the influence of alcohol, which is always a concern. The assumption is he will be reinstated and get back in good standing and be able to play this year, but obviously that is not a minor incident. He has taken responsibility for the incident and hopefully he has learned from it. On the field, Jenkins has the physical ability and the tools to be a complete tight end as he can be a great pass catching threat as well as a blocker and has been lined up in the slot as a joker, inline, on the outside, and as an H-back. Jenkins has the tools to be a first round pick if he stays out of trouble and if he continues his development, he could go extremely high; perhaps in the top 15.
Vitals & Build
Jenkins is listed at 6’6” 266lbs but looks even bigger. He is an imposing physical presence that looks like he could be an offensive lineman but has impressive acceleration and deceptive speed. Jenkins looks like he is gliding down the field but he runs past people so easily. Jenkins is huge but it is hard to say that he does not have room to get even bigger and stronger, but he looked impressive as a sophomore.
Route Running & Technique
When lined up in the slot as a joker, Jenkins gets out of his stance quickly and efficiently. It is good enough that there are plenty of wide receivers who might benefit from looking at how he does it. He does not get all that low in his stance but he does not bounce; rather he goes forward so he gets a nice jump into his route. Inline, he come out of his stance efficiently as well which helps prevent the defensive end to get a jam on him as he releases into his route. Jenkins has also showed a quick spin move to help beating the jam. Jenkins fires off the ball at the same speed as the rest of the offensive line.
As a route runner, Jenkins tends to round off routes too much. Mostly a product of youth and his overwhelming physical tools, he does not plant all that cleanly yet and is not all that precise in his routes because he is bigger, stronger, and faster than anyone covering him so he has not really needed to adapt to succeed. As a junior, if he works on this area, he could find that many more open plays for himself. The one exception is that Jenkins does a nice job of running quick outs when he slides in to an H-back look or arrow type routes from the tight end spot. He snaps his head around quickly and gives the quarterback a quick target to get the ball while being able to turn and get up the field for extra yardage.
He has shown a knack for finding holes in the zone and settling in space to give his quarterback a target and does a good job of flowing to the football when his quarterback was forced to roll out, which was often. It is not difficult to find Jenkins, which is why it is important for him to do a good job of giving his quarterback a place to go to fulfill the role of being a “quarterback’s best friend”.
Jenkins has big, strong, natural hands that allow him to catch the ball quickly and easily. With his huge frame, he can take up a large amount of space and always looks open. He possesses a huge catch radius and can make his quarterback look really good adjusting to a ton of different passes. Jenkins is huge like a lumbering tight end but his body control in adjusting to passes or stretching out for the football look more like a wide receiver. He is comfortable catching the ball out in front of him, over his head, and high pointing the football with good leaping ability. And with his height and broad build, he looks like an eclipse going up for the football and is virtually unstoppable when he climbs the ladder to get the football. He tracks the ball well going down the field and times his leap well to high point the football. Jenkins shows a good sense of where the sideline is and shows a nice double toe tap that makes the catches legal in the NFL as well as in college. He has had an occasional drop, but he has shown to be a reliable target for the most part and someone that can make big plays as well as routine ones with virtual certainty.
Run After Catch
Partly because of his basketball experience, Jenkins has natural fluidity as an athlete and he catches the ball securely so he is able to transition from pass catcher to run after the catch efficiently. He is able to make catches near the sideline with enough body control often times to turn up and get extra yards up the sideline. Jenkins is not an overly elusive tight end and is more of someone who is going to run through them than around them but he does have acceleration and speed, so if there is an opening, he can definitely be a threat to score. The Huskies have used a lot of quick passes that allow him to catch the ball and pick up a few yards after the catch.
There are a lot of good things with Jenkins’ blocking but he needs to put them all together and be consistent. He fires off the ball and gets in position, and will throw a decent punch. He has the size, strength, and feet to stay in front of his opponent, but he runs into some problems in pass protection. There are times where Jenkins will fall of the block, stop moving his feet and have the defender run past him and occasionally, will let pass rushers slip inside of him and as a result, will sometimes drag them down that can result in a holding call. When he appears uncomfortable, he tends to stand up and play far too tall enabling his opponent to get leverage and drive him into the backfield.
Jenkins shows the makings of an impressive run blocker with his power, his ability to get in position, and his mobility to pull and get out in front of plays, but again, there are some adjustments he needs to make. For the most part, he does a pretty good job of getting the right angle between the defender and the ball carrier but there are times he will get a little too far past the defender allowing them to slip inside too early. There are times when his timing is slightly off; he will let a block go and try to get to the second level to make another block before the running back has progressed to that point. The fact that he is trying to go from one block to another is great, but it is a matter of timing and this should improve with more experience; he will be more in sync with the rest of the line. He has shown he does a pretty good job landing and securing blocks on the move. Jenkins has shown all of the technique and ability to be a great blocker; he just needs to put it all together and do it with consistency. He also needs to embrace the role of being a blocker more as there are times when his body language and effort look like he would rather be running a route and the results sometimes reflect it.
Jenkins can play in any system but he really excels as an inline tight end. He can be a great asset to the running game, create opportunities for playaction, and can stretch the field deep. Jenkins can certainly play in the slot and in the backfield, but he is at his most dangerous as that extension of the line that can also make big play in the passing game. The system that the Steelers use with Heath Miller is a good example of where Jenkins could be utilized to show off all of his abilities as a player. Moving him around and being creative with getting him the ball is certainly not a bad way to go, but overall, he can do the most from an inline position.
|Sat, Aug. 31||vs. Boise State|
|Sat, Sept. 14||at Illinois|
|Sat, Sept. 21||vs. Idaho State|
|Sat, Sept 28||vs. Arizona|
|Sat, Oct. 5||at Stanford|
|Sat, Oct. 12||vs. Oregon|
|Sat, Oct. 19||at Arizona State|
|Sat, Oct. 26||vs Cal|
|Sat, Nov. 9||vs Colorado|
|Fri, Nov. 15||at UCLA|
|Sat, Nov. 23||at Oregon State|
|Fri, Nov. 29||vs. Washington State|
The games that could be good tests for Jenkins could include the game against Stanford because they have a mix of pass rushers and tough linebackers that could show off his blocking skills and reacting in routes with contact. Oregon’s defense is largely the opposite of Stanford the next week so he will have to adjust from strength to speed. The other game that stands out is the UCLA game. It is on the road in Westwood, it is likely a nationally televised game, so a big opportunity for Jenkins to show off his talents and with a guy like Anthony Barr, Jenkins could have his biggest test of the year with pass and run blocking.
Jenkins has a similar build as Jermaine Gresham did when he came out of Oklahoma and people forget that Gresham went 21st overall despite a knee injury that caused him to miss the season. If Jenkins can stay healthy, he has that same ability to be an inline tight end that can be a big time receiving threat or blocker but also can play in the slot as a joker. A healthy Jenkins could end up going higher than Gresham did when he came out.
Jenkins has everything a team could want in a tight end if he can continue refining his game and polishing a few things. He has overwhelming size and is a natural space eater that can get open on third down or in the red zone, can be an asset in the running game, and can make big plays down the field, near the sideline and anywhere else they can throw him the football. If he can keep improving, he has a chance to go extremely high when he ultimately goes in the NFL Draft; potentially top 15 or possibly higher. He is a different type of tight end than Vernon Davis and Kellen Winslow Jr. when they went in the top 10 as he is not quite the dynamic athlete they were, but he can do more inline than they could. Hopefully the incident this Spring is one that becomes a blip on the radar as he continues his football career but NFL teams will certainly want to go investigate that to see if it is a trend rather than an isolated incident, but there is evidence to suggest he needs to mature, but if he can do that, there is a ton of ability that could really blossom at the next level.