BBD Editor: Dan Hope
The National Basketball Association held its 2013 draft on Thursday night, in which 60 talented basketball players achieved their dream of being selected by an NBA team.
In recent years, however, the National Football League has begun to see an influx of talented basketball players with the athleticism to be professional athletes, but who just aren’t quite good enough to play in the NBA. The tight end position in football has proved to be a natural transition for many physically-gifted basketball wingers, where the size, athleticism and skill set of a basketball small forward can be ideal.
This modern trend of basketball players-turned-tight ends has produced some of the best tight ends in the NFL today, including Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham. Meanwhile, while Rob Gronkowski and Vernon Davis weren’t college basketball players, both elite tight ends fit the physical prototype standard set by the basketball converts.
This trend has revolutionized the tight end position, and has scouts looking at tight end prospects much differently than they did in previous generations. If a team is going to invest an early draft pick in a tight end, they are looking for a player who has great size and length, great leaping ability and good downfield speed.
Scouts covet those type of athletic specimens in tight end draft prospects, and a background in basketball certainly doesn’t hurt. It certainly won’t hurt Washington junior Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who is projected to be the top tight end prospect in the 2014 NFL draft should he declare.
Seferian-Jenkins played college basketball as a freshman at Washington, but he is better known for his ability on the football field.
An explosive athlete listed at 6’6” and 266 pounds by Washington’s official athletics website, Seferian-Jenkins has ideal measurables to fit the NFL’s modern tight end prototype. While he must improve as both a football player on the field and a person off the field, Seferian-Jenkins truly has the potential to be an NFL superstar.