The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a draft class that consisted of more than just Mike Evans last year, even if you wouldn't necessarily think so given the lackluster contributions the Bucs got out of all their other draft picks. One player who's going to have to step up this year: last year's second-round pick Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports named him one of his 16 NFC players who need a "sophomore season reboot."
A lot was made of Seferian-Jenkins having first-round talent when he was drafted 38th overall. But he never stepped into the big offensive role that was available for the taking, dealing with ankle problems and a back injury that ended his season on injured reserve. None of that has diminished hopes of a major reboot in 2015, as Seferian-Jenkins has raved about how great he feels this offseason. That renewed health will likely get put to the test immediately by new Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who has shown an acumen for implementing tight ends into his scheme. And lest anyone forget, rookie quarterback Jameis Winston is in the fold. History shows us that a tight end is often a rookie quarterback's best friend. That's great news for Seferian-Jenkins in 2015.
Is Seferian-Jenkins in need of a reboot? Not really. His was a fairly typical rookie season: marred by injury, still learning the scheme and adjusting to a new level of play. The players that make an immediate impact are rare, especially at the tight end position.
Dirk Koetter will play a significant role in ASJ's resurgence. Or at least, that's what we hope. He coached Tony Gonzalez in the final years of his career, and helped Marcedes Lewis turn into an all-around tight end, both as a receiver and a blocker. Gonzalez probably isn't a realistic target for Seferian-Jenkins, but Lewis is: a quality blocker who can do some real damage in the passing game, especially in the red zone. Not necessarily a truly explosive tight end, though ASJ does have the athletic ability to do that, but a very valuable part of an offense nonetheless.
With some luck, ASJ will be able to take the first steps in that direction this year. He'll have significant competition for playing time, though. Luke Stocker has been retained as a blocking tight end, while Brandon Myers is more of an all-around player who can eat into Seferian-Jenkins' time if he doesn't improve this year. And with the arrival of Tim Wright, he even has some competition as a receiver. Hopefully that competition will make him better, instead of burying him on the depth chart.