2013 Fight Hunger Bowl Prospect Preview: BYU vs. Washington

Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins could be the NFL’s next basketball player-turned-star tight end. (Photo: Joe Nicholson — USA Today Sports)

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington, Jr. (6’6”, 276 lbs)

Like Kyle Van Noy to Anthony Barr and Khalil Mack, Washington junior tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has lost some of the spotlight at his position to North Carolina’s Eric Ebron and Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro, but he still makes a strong case for being the top prospect at his position should he declare for the 2014 draft.

Having also played on the basketball team at Washington as a freshman, Seferian-Jenkins fits the modern physical prototype for an NFL tight end. He combines the size and length of an offensive tackle with enough athleticism to play wide receiver, making him a major offensive threat as both a receiver and blocker.

Seferian-Jenkins does not have the explosive speed and acceleration that Ebron and Amaro do, but is a Rob Gronkowski-like receiving threat who has more than enough athleticism for his size. Though he has some trouble separating from defensive backs, he still creates a matchup nightmare as he can use his size to box out defenders and leaping ability to high-point catches over them.

As a blocker, he looks and plays like an extension of the offensive line. He does a good job turning defenders away from runs as a blocker, while he uses his feet well to move laterally with defenders to sustain blocks.

Seferian-Jenkins has huge potential as both a receiving and blocking tight end. He has the versatility to be used as an in-line tight end, an extra blocker on the offensive line or flexed out as a wide receiver, and he has even seen time during his career at defensive end, though he is unlikely to play there at the next level.

Seferian-Jenkins’ biggest concern might be his character, as he was arrested for DUI in March. Still, his upside is likely to convince a team to select him in the first round of the draft.

Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington, Jr. (5’10”, 203 lbs)

Should Bishop Sankey enter the 2014 NFL draft, the Washington junior running back belongs to be in the conversation for being the first running back selected. Ranking third nationally this season with 1,775 yards on 306 rushing attempts, Sankey is a well-rounded runner who gains consistent yardage both between and outside the tackles, and should be able to carry the load for an NFL backfield.

Sankey has very good vision and quickness at the line of scrimmage, and does a great job of finding running lanes and attacking them north and south. Though he has good lateral agility and effectively bounces run outside, he does not hesitate out of the backfield and has shown he can both bounce off of contact and make defenders miss in the open field to extend runs.

A tough, consistent runner, Sankey has gained 5.8 yards per carry as a junior in large part because of his ability to grind out yardage between the tackles, but also because of his ability to break big gains, as he ranks second in the FBS with 21 rushes of 20 yards or more this season.

Sankey projects to be a solid two-down runner at the next level, but he will have to improve as both a receiver and a pass protector to be a significant player in an NFL passing offense. His limited ability as a receiving and pass-blocking option might hurt his draft stock, but his well-rounded game as a runner would make him a solid second-round draft pick.

Sean Parker is the top senior draft prospect on Washington’s defense. (Photo: Joe Nicholson — USA Today Sports)

Sean Parker, SS, Washington, Sr. (5’10”, 195 lbs)

In a thin draft class of safeties, Washington’s Sean Parker could factor in near the top of the group. A rangy athlete, Parker is a strong and active tackler in run support who is also good at making plays on the ball in coverage.

Parker is an instinctive safety who uses his eyes well to read plays, then has the acceleration and speed to rally to the ball quickly. He has experience playing as a center-field safety but he can also line up as a slot cornerback and is an effective corner blitzer.

As a cover safety, Parker’s game is a work in progress. He needs to become better at positioning himself in center-field to provide coverage help, while he does not have a strong backpedal. And while he has the athleticism to cover tight ends downfield, he could be at a significant size disadvantage.

Parker is best when the play is in front of him, but he also needs to take better angles to the ball. This is especially true on special teams coverage units, where he has shown to get blocked too early but is likely where he will need to be able to get his feet wet as an NFL player to stay on a roster in order to develop his skills as a safety.

Parker has to progress to develop into a starting NFL safety and might reach that level, but his developmental potential and playmaking ability should make him a solid Day 3 draft selection.

Keith Price, QB, Washington, Sr. (6’1”, 202 lbs)

After making a name himself at the end of his sophomore season when he arguably outperformed Robert Griffin III in the 2011 Alamo Bowl, Washington quarterback Keith Price started to generate buzz as a future NFL draft prospect, but he has not been able to capitalize on that momentum over the past two seasons. While he has upside as a playmaker, his game has not developed as many had hoped it would over the past two seasons.

Still, that’s not to say Price should not get consideration as a late-round draft pick. He is a dynamic athlete who does a good job extending plays as a scrambler, and he has shown the ability to make throws into tight windows, including when he is on the run.

Given his athleticism and scrambling ability, Price could have appeal to teams looking for a read-option backup, though he is not actually a great open-field runner. As a passer, Price would still need to develop significantly to make it as an NFL starting quarterback. He struggles to drive the football on deep throws, struggles with his accuracy and decision-making under pressure and takes far more sacks than he should.

On Day 3 of the draft, Price has a skill set that could make him an attractive upside option for a team looking for a developmental quarterback, but he is no sure bet to be drafted.

Marcus Peters, CB, Washington, R-So. (5’11”, 193 lbs)

Marcus Peters might not be likely to declare for the 2014 draft as a redshirt sophomore, but his draft eligibility should not be overlooked. He is a skilled cover corner whose fluid athleticism, physicality, instincts and ball skills should lead to an NFL future.

In a draft class that appears to be far from loaded with cornerback talent, Peters projects as a Day 2 draft selection if he were to declare. Although he does not have great size, he has shown he can hang with the top receivers he has faced on the outside, while he is also a solid tackler in run support.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bishop Sankey, Bowl Games, BYU, Cody Hoffman, Daniel Sorensen, Eathyn Manumaleuna, Fight Hunger Bowl, Game Previews, Kaneakua Friel, Keith Price, Kyle Van Noy, Marcus Peters, Prospect Previews, Sean Parker, Washington

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