TAMPA — When TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins packed on the weight last year, he saw his pass-catching numbers melt away.
After grabbing 69 passes as a sophomore at Washington, Tampa Bay’s second-round draft choice added 20 pounds to his 260-pound frame in 2013. Although his reception total plunged to 36 last year, Seferian-Jenkins still won the John Mackey Award as the nation’s premier tight end.
After Seferian-Jenkins weighed in at a relatively svelte 262 pounds at the combine in Indianapolis, he was asked about his former weight gain.
“I was a little lazy, I can admit that,’’ he said at the combine. “I shouldn’t have been that heavy, but now I am at the right weight.’’
On Friday night, Seferian-Jenkins said there will be no need to loosen his belt once again.
“I’m going to be 260 pounds for the rest of my career,’’ he said. “I was asked to do more in the run-blocking game and I felt that it would help me to gain weight. And it really didn’t. I learned that it had to do with technique, so I’m not going to be that heavy anymore.’’
Right from the start
The Bucs earned some national plaudits with the selection of Texas A&M WR Mike Evans with the seventh overall pick of the draft.
“The Bucs filled a glaring need for another receiver,’’ said ESPN analyst Bill Polian, who helped build winning franchises as an executive in Buffalo, Carolina and Indianapolis. “They get a big, physical, incredibly gifted receiver who can win jump balls. He was a skinny basketball player who turned to football and now he’s grown into a man. He’ll be right in (coach) Lovie Smith’s wheelhouse.’’
Former Bucs coach and “Monday Night Football’’ analyst Jon Gruden said Evans reminds him of a player already on Tampa Bay’s roster.
“He’s really very similar to Vincent Jackson,’’ Gruden said. “I don’t know if you want two of those on the same team — I don’t know that you don’t. It depends on what (offensive coordinator) Jeff Tedford has in store.’’
Evans spent part of his offseason working out in San Diego with Hall of Fame WR James Lofton.
“When he comes off the line and gets to full speed,’’ Lofton said, “I imagine corners are going to go ‘Oh no.’ ”
The defense rests
Although Smith comes from a defensive background, the Bucs chose three players on the offensive side of the ball with their first three picks, drafting West Virginia RB Charles Sims in Round 3 Friday evening.
“We had a plan — to get great football players,’’ said GM Jason Licht. “This one (Sims) kind of stood out, just like the tight end did.’’