Head Coach Lovie Smith and General Manager Jason Licht inherited a squad that finished the 2013 season with the NFL's 32nd-ranked passing attack. The version that takes the field in 2014 will look drastically different, and on Friday evening the Buccaneers added another new piece with the selection of University of Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the second round of the NFL Draft.
Seferian-Jenkins, the 38th overall pick in the 2014 draft, follows Tampa Bay's first-round selection of Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans at number seven overall. Those represent the highest picks the Buccaneers franchise has ever invested in those two positions, respectively, and they also represent a commitment to field a vastly improved offense this season. In addition to the arrival of Smith and Offensive Coordinator Jeff Tedford, the Buccaneers have also brought in a new starting quarterback (
Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins won the John Mackey Award in 2013 as the nation's top collegiate tight end
In taking a tight end before the third round for the first time in team history, the Buccaneers hope they've landed a rare commodity in the NFL: a true two-way tight end. Seferian-Jenkins is the reigning winner of the John Mackey Award, given annually to the nation's top collegiate tight end. The Huskies' all-time leader among tight ends in receptions (146), receiving yards (1,838) and touchdowns (21), he is also an intimidating presence on the edge of the line at 6-5 and 260 pounds.
Like many star NFL tight ends before him, Seferian-Jenkins also has a history on the hardwood. A prep basketball star, he walked on to the Washington team in 2011 and became just the fourth person since 1985 to play on both the Huskies' football and basketball squads in the same year. A reserve forward for the Huskies, Seferian-Jenkins uses those low-post skills to dominate in the red zone and around the goal line.
Seferian-Jenkins' top season on the gridiron came during his 2012 sophomore campaign, when he caught a school-record (for a tight end) 69 passes for 850 yards and seven touchdowns. He needed little time to adapt to the collegiate game, hauling in 41 passes for 536 yards and six touchdowns as a freshman and earning Honorable Mention All-Pac 12 honors.
The NFL will conduct the second and third rounds of its 2014 draft on Friday night. The Buccaneers currently own one more selection on the evening, scheduled to pick at #69 overall in the third round.