At 6-foot-5 1/2, 262 pounds, Austin Seferian-Jenkins is part of the new breed of tight ends whose athletic skills could be applied on a basketball court just as easily as they could on a football field.
Raphael Chillious, an assistant coach on the Washington Huskies' basketball team, took note of the connection when he watched Seferian-Jenkins play hoops as a freshman walk-on. One skill in particular stood out -- Chillious linked Seferian-Jenkins' skills as a rebounder with his ability to high-point a football.
"A loose ball, a 50-50 ball -- if it can go either way, Austin knows to go get it," Chillious told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "You have to go get it. He has a great ability to go get it.
"Really, really rugged. Physical," Chillious said. "He did a good job of using his long arms legally."
That combination of size, physicality and ability to beat defenders to the ball is a big reason teams are so high on Seferian-Jenkins, who had 21 touchdown receptions in his career at Washington. It's why NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah noted in his latest mock draft that Seferian-Jenkins will be "an immediate impact player in the red zone."
Seferian-Jenkins says playing basketball helped him hone his skills as a tight end.
"It helped me out a lot," Seferian-Jenkins said. "I played basketball my whole life. It definitely helps. It translates to going up for rebounds and going up for balls in the end zone. Quick feet. It helps with getting in and out of your cuts. It definitely all translates to football."
Seferian-Jenkins is regarded as one of the three best tight ends in the 2014 draft, along with North Carolina's Eric Ebron and Texas Tech's Jace Amaro, two other tight ends with basketball backgrounds. Although Ebron is rated No. 1 at his position by most analysts, NFL Media analyst Charles Davis has noted that Seferian-Jenkins is a "more complete" tight end than him.
Jeremiah and NFL Network's Brian Baldinger are split on who will be the first tight end off the board -- Jeremiah says it will be Seferian-Jenkins, Baldinger says it will be Ebron -- but both project Seferian-Jenkins going to the Packers with the No. 21 pick.
Seferian-Jenkins told the Journal Sentinel he could definitely see himself in Green Bay.
"I think I'd fit in pretty well," he said. "We ran the no-huddle. I've been in the West Coast, pro-style offense. They have a great quarterback and great receivers up there. A great running back. It'd be cool to be a part of all that.
"It'd be great. It'd be awesome to be a part of that."
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