There came a point early in the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday when it suddenly became hard to tell whether Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith was trying to rebuild a football team or build a basketball team.
For the second night in a row, Smith spent the Bucs first pick on a basketball player-turned pass catcher, this time using Tampa Bay’s second-round selection on 6-foot-6, 262-pound Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
That move came in the wake of the team’s decision on Thursday to spend the seventh overall pick on 6-5, 231-pound Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans, who is projected to line up opposite 6-5, 230-pound Vincent Jackson.
“I like our odds,’’ Seferian-Jenkins said with a laugh when asked about the size of what could be the Bucs front-line of pass catchers.
The Bucs continued to add to their offense with the their third-round pick, selecting West Virginia running back Charles Sims, who may project more as a pass catcher at the NFL level.
Seferian-Jenkins started 35 of the 38 games he played for the Huskies, including each of the last 28 and made 146 catches for 1,840 yards and 21 touchdowns, the latter a school record for tight ends.
“I’m going to bring explosiveness, play-making ability and good blocking,’’ Seferian-Jenkins said. “I’m going to bring an all-around tight end who is going to work hard and chase Super Bowls.’’
Jenkins played basketball for the Huskies during his freshman year and later devoted himself strictly to football, but his career was interrupted by a DUI conviction in March of 2013.
Following a late-night accident, Seferian-Jenkins pled guilty to the DUI charge, paid a $695 fine and was sentenced to 364 days in jail, 363 of which were suspended.
He was also suspended for the first game of the 2013 season as a result of the DUI charge, but he rebounded to win the Mackey Award after catching 36 passes for 450 yards and eight touchdowns.
Like Evans, who didn’t start playing football competitive until his senior year in high school, Seferian-Jenkins said basketball helped him become one of the top pass catchers in college football.
“It helps me so much,’’ Seferian Jenkins said of playing basketball. “Being able to play basketball at a high level, adjusting to the ball, quick feet, quick hands, all that stuff definitely translates to playing tight end in the National Football League.’’