Projecting Outcomes for new Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tight End Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The second of two big, strong targets in the passing game selected by the Bucs in the draft, what can fans expect from the Washington prospect?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers spent their first two picks of the 2014 NFL Draft on the offensive side of the ball, adding a pair of "NFL power forwards" in Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins to the offense now affectionally known as the Dunkaneers.

But what can fans actually expect from the prospects the Buccaneers selected? Any rookie has a very wide range of possible outcomes in their first season and in their career, and this article will attempt to build a worst and best-case scenario, along with providing the most likely outcome based on what I have seen from the player.

I'll use the "Good, Bad and Likely" format that I've used in the past, with the good and bad obviously representing best and worst-case scenarios, while likely is what I project. Feel free to leave your own good, bad and likely projections in the comments, as well.

We'll continue this series by taking a look at the second of selection for the Bucs, Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

The Good

Maybe even more than Evans, the sky is the limit for Seferian-Jenkins. The Washington Husky has an incredible athletic profile for his position, and unlike many big name tight ends who are really TEINOs (tight end in name only), ASJ is a two-way player at the position.

He made a habit of absolutely owning Pac 12 linebackers and even defensive ends as a blocker, and when he got matched up against a defensive back, it was ugly (in a good way for the Huskies and now the Bucs). But that doesn't mean he's just a big brute who can't play in the passing game (like Nate Byham and many other Bucs' tight ends in recent history).

ASJ reportedly ran a 4.56 40-yard dash in a workout this summer, which at his height and weight, is an incredible asset. Combined with having the best hands among top tight ends in this draft class according to Greg Peshek, this means Seferian-Jenkins will be a threat to get up the seam, as well as a dangerous player on check downs in space.

So a tight end who can get up the seam, break away from defenders, and block like a monster. Who does that remind you of?

I hesitate to even make the comparison, as it's sure to elicit quite a response, but there's definitely a Rob Gronkowski-like ceiling for ASJ. He has all of the tools required to be Gronk-eqsue, with possibly even a bit of extra straight line speed.

If Seferian-Jenkins learns how to run routes and get separation in the NFL, as well as adjusting to blocking schemes and the increased challenge of blocking NFL-caliber athletes, there's no reason why he can't ascend to the top of the NFL's tight end rankings during the prime of his career.

The Bad

Like Mike Evans, and many other receivers we've profiled this offseason, Seferian-Jenkins doesn't always put his athleticism to good use. He doesn't get going in a hurry, something that may change with conditioning and getting to an ideal playing weight in the NFL, but it might be his Achilles heel as well.

If ASJ doesn't get more explosive and fails to get off the line well in the NFL, he'll still be a somewhat productive target who can find holes in coverages and win 50/50 battles for passes, but he'll be a lot closer to average than he will to Gronkowski.

But the main concerns for Seferian-Jenkins come in the training room and off-the-field. He has a DUI arrest and a stress fracture and broken finger to his name, all of which could derail an otherwise productive NFL career. All accounts point to the young man responding well to his DUI charge, including accepting responsibility and pleading guilty rather than snaking his way through the legal system to avoid the ramifications for his actions.

But it's impossible to project the future behavior of a prospect, and even tougher to determine if they're going to be a regular injury risk. Seferian-Jenkins is a big, strong man, but Nolan Narwocki commented on his physique as an area to improve, implying that ASJ might not be getting the most out of his impressive frame. Not being in top shape could lead to injuries, and injuries will keep him out of top shape. It's a vicious cycle that would derail an otherwise promising career.

The Likely

Unlike Evans, who has a relatively high floor, there's concern that Seferian-Jenkins will fail to live up to his potential and instead wind up labeled as a bust.

His hands are fine, and he's athletic and a capable blocker, so there's a decent floor. But without any burst or separation, or with the frustration of time spent sidelined due to injury or suspension, he'll wind up being not worth the second-round pick spent on him.

However, there's good reason to believe that Seferian-Jenkins will take strides in the right direction as a pro, especially considering his landing spot in Tampa with veterans like Vincent Jackson and Josh McCown combining with coaches like Lovie Smith and Jeff Tedford to give him guidance and motivation.

So while I don't think it's safe to predict that ASJ will become a dominant force in the NFL at the tight end position, it's safe to say that he'll be above average at his position, and will be a menace in the red zone for a decade.

In other words, he might not be quite on the Gronkowski level, but there's no reason to believe he can't be a productive, reliable tight end with the possibility of a slightly inconsistent level of production, similar to Vernon Davis of the 49ers.

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