Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Bishop Sankey both made it off the board in the second of round of the NFL’s draft this weekend, making them the only Washington football players to be selected at the draft.
Seferian-Jenkins was selected 38th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He joins a group of huskies down in Tampa that include the likes of Dashon Goldson, Mason Foster, and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. With so many huskies in once place, I think it is safe to officially jump on the Buccaneers bandwagon.
Surly I am not the only one excited about Seferian-Jenkins’ new home. The 2013 John Mackey award winner and holder of five Washington football school records, Seferian-Jenkins will be an instant contributor to the team. It seems that new coach Lovie Smith is trying to emulate his former employers’ current offense by acquiring similar pieces. With Vincent Jackson already on the roster, as well as the additions of Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans (7th overall), Seferian-Jenkins, and newly acquired quarterback Josh McCown, the Bucs begin to look eerily similar to the bears.
Whatever it is that the Bears are trying to accomplish, it looks as if Seferian-Jenkins has found himself in an excellent position. In even more exciting news, I now know who my sleeper pick for fantasy football is next year.
Speaking of sleeper picks, with the 54th overall pick the Tennessee Titans selected Bishop Sankey. Very similar to Seferian-Jenkins’s situation, Sankey will join former Washington football quarterback Jake Locker. As excited as I am about the Bucs pick, I am even more excited about this one. Jake Locker is arguably the most beloved figure to don the purple and gold in Washington football history, yet his pro career has seen some bumps. Exceptional play at times only to be followed by injury have been the Locker experience thus far.
Sankey finds himself in a position where he can help himself, as well as Locker. Chris Johnson is out, leaving the Titans with a need at running back. Sankey should fill that need. Unlike Johnson who relied more on the occasional big play, Sankey will bring a consistency to the Titans running game that Locker needs in order to be truly successful.
I have heard Sankey receive criticism for being ‘good’ at a lot of things, but not ‘great’. Or that he doesn’t have exceptional speed or tackle shedding ability. With these criticisms have come ridiculous comparisons to any number of current and/or former NFL running backs. I think Washington football fans need not look far to find a fair comparison.
Sankey tends to remind me of Seattle Seahawks’ running back Marshawn Lynch. Although Sankey doesn’t run with the same strength and ferocity that Lynch does, their approach to running the ball is very similar. Both have great feet and vision in the hole. Both are excellent and putting their foot in the ground and quickly deciding when it is time to accelerate up field, or when to be patient and wait for something to develop.
In either case, what makes Sankey and Lynch unique is their commitment to gaining about 4 to 5 yards at a time, not 45 yards. Because of that, they are criticized for not possessing big play ability. That is simply wrong. It is their commitment to gaining short chunks of yardage that make them much more effective weapons on offense compared to their flash in the pan counterparts.
The ability to continually face manageable second and third downs is what Sankey brings to an offense and what a young quarterback like Locker needs. After three quarters of wearing down a defense by continually grinding out yards on the ground, that is when players like Sankey and Lynch prove that they have big play ability. Reference Sankey’s game against Stanford in 2012 , a game in which he helped the huskies upset #8 Stanford when he busted a 61-yard touchdown to end the third quarter.
Both players are sure to make an impact early with their respective teams and will definitely have a bright future ahead of them.
For those keeping track, Seferian-Jenkins and Sankey become the 8th and 9th players drafted from UW during Sarkisian’s tenure (5 Defense, 4 Offense). 6 players were drafted within the first three rounds. Desmond Trufant was the only player drafted that was an actual Sarkisian signing until this year.
Comparatively, during that same time at Boise State, Petersen had 11 players (7 Defense, 4 Offense) selected in the NFL draft. 7 of which were picked in the first three rounds. It will be interesting to see how these numbers compare again another five years from now.
Sarkisian left the program with more NFL talent than it has seen in some years. With Petersen at the helm, I expect to see even more huskies getting their name called at the NFL draft for years to come.
Former Washington football players Keith Price (Seahawks), Kevin Smith (Cardinals), Greg Ducre (Chargers), and Travis Coons (Titans) were also picked up as undrafted free agents.
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