By Danny O’Neil
INDIANAPOLIS – Less will be more.
That’s what Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins believes anyway, and it is the reason he weighed in at 262 pounds at the NFL scouting combine on Thursday, a full 20 pounds lighter than he played at last season for the Huskies when he bulked up to assume a larger blocking role.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins has dropped 20 pounds from the weight he played at last season at Washington. (AP)
“I needed to lose the weight,” he said. “I wanted to shape myself back into the player that I know I can be at a high level, be a big-time playmaker. This is the weight I feel comfortable at.”
We’ll see. There might not be a player at this scouting combine with more to gain. If the sleeker Seferian-Jenkins runs well, he can shed the worries that he’s a bit too lumbering to be chosen in the first two rounds.
That seemed like a slam dunk after his sophomore season as he had caught 110 passes in his first two years on campus. Not only that, he was athletic enough to not only play basketball as a freshman, but to see snaps as a defensive lineman as a sophomore.
Then came a junior year in which Washington changed offenses, going from a pro-style system to a hurry-up format. Seferian-Jenkins was suspended the first game after being charged with DUI, and he finished 2013 with 36 catches, fewest in any of his three seasons as a Husky.
“We changed our offense a little,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “I was asked to block more. So I decided to gain weight. And it helped me out blocking.”
Seferian-Jenkins is sure to be asked about his DUI, too, after a single-car crash resulted in his arrest. It was a mistake, a crime, that Seferian-Jenkins said was something that will never happen again.
“It’s a learning lesson,” he said. “I learned it, but it’s one incident and that doesn’t change who I am and I think people in Seattle and Tacoma know who I am as a person and character, and I don’t think I am a character risk or a character issue at all.”
Citizenship isn’t going to determine whether Seferian-Jenkins is a first-round pick, though. That’s going to come down to his performance as the NFL looks to see if less weight will translate to more athleticism.
Seferian-Jenkins seems pretty sure of that, saying he hopes to run the 40-yard dash in less than 4.7 seconds.
“Somewhere in the 4.6s,” he said.
That kind of speed would improve his draft stock in a hurry.