Sports Out West

NFL Combine 2014: Huskies’ Bishop Sankey impresses, Austin Seferian-Jenkins limited

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Following an encouraging 9-4 season, the Washington Huskies had two juniors declare early for the NFL. Running back Bishop Sankey and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins both decided to forego their season and join the professional ranks.

Neither figures to have a shortage of interested suitors, and both were participants in the 2014 NFL Combine. Here’s a breakdown of how Seferian-Jenkins and Sankey performed over the weekend.

Bishop Sankey, RB

Coming off of an incredible season in which he ran for a UW single-season record 1,870 yards, Sankey did nothing but impress at the combine. While Sankey is not really a typically fast or explosive running back, he ranked in the top 10 at his position with a 40-yard dash time of 4.49, and was the top performer in the cone drill. That is only going to help his draft standing.

Sankey brings much more to the table than speed. At 5-foot-9 and 209 pounds, Sankey is a little undersized but is still a physical runner and demonstrated his ability to carry a heavy workload in 2013. His 26 reps on the bench press were second among running backs. Sankey’s physicality was best demonstrated in his 40-carry, 161 yard effort Sept. 28 against Arizona, in which he was able to efficiently grind down the Wildcats’ defense.

Perhaps the most appealing thing about Sankey is his lateral cutting ability. During his second touchdown run in the Fight Hunger Bowl, Sankey put a devastating cut on BYU’s Kyle Van Noy – a projected first or second-round pick. Sankey should go among the first five running backs drafted and will be an absolute steal if taken any later than the third round.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE

Seferian-Jenkins holds just about every tight end record at the UW and won the 2013 John Mackey Award. His decision to come back for his junior season likely cost Seferian-Jenkins a bit in terms of draft position, but he should still be a safe first or second round pick.

Unfortunately, a foot injury limited Seferian-Jenkins to only being able to participate in the bench press at the combine. His 20 reps were not particularly impressive either. NFL scouts who watched Seferian-Jenkins during his collegiate career know about his blend of size and speed. Seferian-Jenkins said previously he had hoped to run the 40 in the 4.6 range, which would have been one of the best times of any tight end.

Missing most of the combine shouldn’t hurt Seferian-Jenkins too much. At 6-foot-5, 262 pounds and a 33 ¾ inch arm length, Seferian-Jenkins has such a massive throwing window that teams will be willing to draft him on size alone. He was a monster in the red zone with the Huskies, catching 21 touchdown passes in three seasons.

The only red flags about Seferian-Jenkins are his physical condition and his DUI before the start of last season. Seferian-Jenkins says his foot is fine, but his suspension before the year clearly had in impact on his playing shape for the duration of 2013. He never got into a rhythm, and his production severely suffered. Still, Seferian-Jenkins is such a physical specimen that it would be a shock if he isn’t taken among the first three tight ends.     

Photo Credit: Joe Robbins / Associated Press

 

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Nathaniel Reeves

Nathaniel Reeves is a journalism student at the University of Washington, currently covering sports for The UW Daily in addition to Sports Out West. He has been closely following Seattle sports his entire life.