The Buccaneers strengthened their tight end unit after selecting Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the NFL Draft earlier this month. Seferian-Jenkins was in town last weekend for the team's rookie mini-camp and talked to the local media while being limited in his participation due to a foot injury.
The tight end position was considered to be a weakness on the Buccaneers roster last season, and is now considered one of the strongest units after the addition of free agent Brandon Myers and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a second-round pick out of Washington. Tampa Bay felt so good about their tight end group that the team released veteran Tom Crabtree on Saturday.
Last weekend, during the Buccaneers rookie mini-camp, Seferian-Jenkins was limited in his participation as he continues to recover from a foot injury that occurred during his final season playing for the Huskies.
During his first opportunity to meet face-to-face with the local Tampa Bay media, Seferian-Jenkins talked about his progress and his anticipation of when he get might be back to 100 percent.
“I had (left) foot surgery, and it (a stress fracture) is well documented, and they are just working me back in, I am enjoying it,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “There’s no timetable on that. Were just working back in, were just working the mini-camp in and getting used to the plays. There’s no timetable, I’m just coming out here and working. When it’s ready it will be ready.”
Seferian-Jenkins who will compete with Myers, Luke Stocker and last year's starter, Tim Wright, for playing time, said has enjoyed his first few days in Tampa Bay.
“I didn’t really know what to expect I have never really been here,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “Everyone’s working real hard to accomplish a dream that they’ve had since they were a child. It’s really cool to come here and compete with guys across the country in Tampa Bay.”
The 6-foot-5, 262-pound Washington native was asked about the style of this coaching staff compared to his coaches in college.
“These coaches are still very vocal, they just do it in a different way,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “Everyone coaches in a different way. I appreciate the way they coach us. It’s been real fun, I’ve learned a lot and it’s been great.”
With the success of basketball player-turned-tight end Jimmy Graham of the Saints, many teams – the Bucs included – have been drawn to players with a basketball background. Seferian-Jenkins, who was a standout basketball player in high school, and also played college basketball in Washington, talked about who he compares his game to and who he looks up to.
“I think a lot of tight ends have a lot of similarities, I think what separates them is the hard work they put in,” Seferian-Jenkins. “There are a lot of great ones around the league, I think Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez – those are all great players that I would like to emulate myself, but we’ll see.”
During the rookie mini-camp over the weekend Bucs rookie wide receiver Mike Evans made an outstanding one-handed catch that raised eyebrows from those who saw it. Seferian-Jenkins said to count him in as one who was impressed with the ability of Evans.
“I think we all noticed that. It was a good catch,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “He’s a great player. He’s my roommate here, and he’s a cool guy. He was kicking my butt early in (NBA)2K. He’s a good player and catches the ball really well.”
Coming in as a rookie, especially a high draft selection, Seferian-Jenkins knows expectations are high, but saw the field early as a freshman at Washington where he caught 41 passes for 538 yards (13.1 avg.) and six touchdowns. In his three years with the Huskies, Seferian-Jenkins caught 146 passes for 1,840 yards and 21 touchdowns.
“I think my approach is to be the best I can be each day, maximize my opportunities,” Seferian-Jenkins. “That’s not my position to say if I’m going in or not. My job is to maximize my opportunities. We’ll see if my maximization of my opportunities will go with me getting on the field and making an impact.
"I just want to make an impact all over the field, whether that’s blocking, catching, being a good teammate, special teams – whatever it is I just want to be an impact player and help the team in any way I can.”
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