Prospecting for Tight Ends: Austin Seferian-Jenkins

 

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teamjohnsonsportstalk.com

As promised, I’ve applied my TE research findings to some of this year’s incoming rookie TEs. In order to get up to speed and really make sense of these findings, check out my earlier work here, and here. Also Jace Amaro here, and Eric Ebron here.

Benchmarks

This first table is just for reference. Using my database of TEs from 2006-2013, I created three hypothetical TEs. “Top Hit” is the average of the top quarter of successful (Hit) TEs. In other words, the best of the best. “Average Hit” is the average of all TEs in the Hit cohort. “Top Miss” is the average of the top third of unsuccesssful TEs, or the “best of the rest”. I included the hypothetical best of the misses in order to help illustrate where a given player might look good but still fall short.

Name Ht Wt BMI 40 yd Agility Explosion HASS YPT TgtPct Pk Rookie Age BestDR
Top Hit 76.0 249.4 30.4 4.63 11.28 153.00 115.38 10.1 17.1 76 22.84 0.26
Ave Hit 76.7 251 30.0 4.66 11.41 151.62 113.93 9.40 18.6 78 23.20 0.23
Top Miss 76.5 252.4 30.4 4.73 11.51 147.8 107.58 8.7 14.4 182 23.7 0.198

 

Let’s take a minute to look at this table, since the Hit values above represent the core of what we’re looking for. In the Height / Weight / BMI columns, you’ll notice no real difference. But in the other athletic measurable areas (40, Agility, Explosion, and HASS), the differences are quite clear. The right half of the table has some college production measurements. A player’s Target Percentage (percent of team passing targets) is a key indicator. Dominator Rating is likewise important, and rookie age is also important. So if you want to just pick out the most important variables, look for:

  • Best DR 0.23 or higher
  • Rookie Age 23 or younger
  • Target Percentage 17% or higher
  • HASS 114 or higher

Without further ado, here are ASJ’s comparables.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins Comparables

NameHtWtBMI40 ydAgilityExplosionHASSYPTTgtPctPkRookie AgeBestDR
R.Gronkowski7826530.64.6811.65152.5120.4513.8218.2042.0021.700.48
A.Seferian-Jenkins7726231.100008.8824.70022.250.340
D.Dickerson7423029.54.411.19168.5123.947.6721.20260.0022.750.31
TopHit76.00249.4330.364.6311.28153.00115.3810.0917.1475.7122.840.26
Ch.Clay7524530.64.6911.22151.5104.1910.8218.30174.0022.880.17
V.Davis7525031.24.3811.17170140.0411.9322.406.0022.900.36
Z.Ertz7724929.54.6811.55141.5111.009.6128.3035.0023.100.32
Ave Hit76.725129.954.6611.41151.62113.939.4018.6078.4023.200.23
Top Miss76.5252.430.44.7311.51147.8107.588.714.418223.70.198

 

The main problem with projecting ASJ right now is his foot injury. Not only did it cost him the combine, it’s costing him his pro day as well, so we won’t be able to get a good gauge on his athleticism. He’s down for a 4.65 40 in high school, but he was quite a bit lighter then too. He also played for the Huskies basketball team in college, so I think we can assume he’s got reasonable athleticism. For what it’s worth, I think it’s the right decision to get the surgery he needs now, so that he’s ready as soon as possible for NFL training camp.

In my previous article, I mentioned that Jace Amaro had some superficial similarities to Rob Gronkowski. Well, ASJ does too. Therefore (transitive property) Amaro and ASJ resemble each other. Let’s take a look at the best season for each.

Name Ht Wt BMI 40 yd Agility HASS YPT TgtPct Pk Rookie Age BestDR
Seferian-Jenkins 77 262 31.1 8.88 24.70 22.25 0.340
Amaro 77 265 31.4 4.74 11.72 112.2 8.89 22.20 22.51 0.232
Gronkowski 78 265 30.6 4.68 11.65 120.45 13.82 18.20 42.00 21.70 0.48

 

Amaro is actually the biggest of the three, by BMI. Where it gets interesting though is the college metrics. Amaro and ASJ are remarkably similar in YPT and TgtPct. But ASJ has a pretty sizable advantage in DR and Rookie Age. Neither’s demonstrated the down-the-field chops that Gronk did in college, but based just on the college metrics, I prefer ASJ to Amaro. Looking at the larger table of comps, you’ll see a bit of variation in height and weight, but similar BMIs. We can’t do much on the athletic side of the ledger, so let’s hone in on the collegiate metrics.

I noticed that ASJs numbers were very similar to those of Zach Ertz and Vernon Davis. I think those two are probably more athletic, but it’s still good company to be keeping, especially since he put up his numbers at a younger age than either. Jon Moore has been doing some really stellar work on “the Phenom Index“. His work has focused on WRs so far, but from some personal exchanges and data-swapping, I think a similar idea holds true for TEs as well. Watch for future articles from Mr Moore on that topic, but suffice it to say that ASJ (and Amaro and Ebron, for that matter) are on the “phenom” side of the age and Dominator Rating equation. Add in a stellar red zone TD rate and ASJ is understandably considered a top TE prospect.

For a bit of cold water, ASJ’s 2013 wasn’t as good as his 2012, and despite his great numbers, he wasn’t his team’s #1 receiving target like Ebron and Amaro were, and his college metrics are also really similar to Dorin Dickerson…who is probably much more athletic.

Conclusion

As with Amaro, draft position will be key in figuring out his dynasty prospects. But for now I’d put him ahead of Amaro. He’s younger and sports a much better Best Dominator Rating. I’ll stick with Ebron as my first overall TE though. Although ASJ’s college metrics are better overall, Ebron has youth and yards/target in his favor, which (along with his available physical scores) suggests he’s more athletic and a likelier downfield threat in the NFL. And unlike both Amaro and ASJ, Ebron’s final year DR didn’t represent a decline from the previous season. So call it Ebron, ASJ, Amaro for me. Finally, to get started on your own TE research, check out the College Receiver App, and the TE Sim App.

 

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