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Shutdown Corner

NFL Draft Under the Microscope: Washington TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins

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Leading up to the NFL draft on May 8-10, Shutdown Corner will examine some of the most interesting prospects in the class, breaking down their strengths and weaknesses.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Tight end
Washington
6-foot-5, 262 pounds
2013 stats: 36 catches, 450 yards, 8 touchdowns
40-yard dash: Didn't run at combine

The good: If you were writing about Seferian-Jenkins after the 2012 season, you were gushing about an elite prospect. He has very good size and the speed to go with it. Seferian-Jenkins didn't run at the combine and was hurt for his pro day, but according to Packer Report ran a 4.56 40-yard dash in a workout with the Jets. It's not hard to believe, because you can see the speed when you watch him play. His sophomore season, with 852 yards and seven touchdowns, was fantastic. He's a master of using his size to get position and his athletic ability to make contested catches. He has the receiving skills to split out wide, and Washington would use him that way at times. There is a movement towards more slender basketball-type tight ends in the NFL, and Seferian-Jenkins happened to play some basketball at Washington too.

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(USA Today Sports Images)

The bad: Teams are still sorting out what happened in 2013. He was arrested for DUI, a charge he pleaded guilty to. He served one day in jail and was suspended for the Huskies' first game. When he came back, he was a different player. He looked heavier and slower, and he was. He said he was more than 280 pounds because the Huskies wanted him to block more. That might have been a reason his numbers took a huge dip, from 69 catches and 852 yards as a sophomore to 36 catches and 450 yards as a junior. He did have eight touchdowns last season, however, one more than the year before. But he's clear that his play dipped in 2013.

"I didn’t play as well," Seferian-Jenkins said in a Q&A with Shutdown Corner. "It’s a simple as that. You can look at the stats, and it’s clear I didn’t have as good of a year. I’m excited to get back and play this upcoming year and get my stats up." 

Just to show that the bad vibes didn't quite end when 2013 did, he also had surgery for a stress fracture found in his foot during an MRI at the combine.

The verdict: Seferian-Jenkins seemed to be the clear No. 1 tight end for this class, but then 2013 happened and he was passed by Eric Ebron. And maybe passed by Jace Amaro and Troy Niklas too. Teams all of a sudden had to figure out if the DUI was a sign of a character issue. Seferian-Jenkins lost about 20 pounds before the combine, getting back to 262, which is still good size. That's a good sign. But the problem with Seferian-Jenkins and a lot of draft prospects, especially in this class, is figuring out if you're getting the 2012 version of the player of the 2013 slumper. Call it Marqise Lee Syndrome. Considering that Seferian-Jenkins isn't a great blocker and his numbers were so down, he seems more like the Brandon Pettigrew of this class compared to Ebron's Vernon Davis. He could be a solid starter for a team, and perhaps good value considering he'll probably be a second-round pick.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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