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Why Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the Jets’ breakout player this season

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ASJ cleaned up his life, and retired NFL defensive end Stephen White says he’ll be a bright spot for the Jets this year.

Tennessee Titans v New York Jets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

You may recall that last season I picked Austin Seferian-Jenkins to be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' breakout player. I figured he'd had two injury riddled seasons to start his career, but even in the limited time that he was on the field he showed that he could be a special player. What did ASJ do to thank me for picking him for such a prestigious award?

He went right out and got pulled over while driving drunk and told a cop on video that he needed to, and I'm quoting him here, "take a huge shit" two days before the Bucs' home opener last season.

Right.

And thus ended his tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as well as any chance that he wouldn't make me look stupid for writing that column.

Quietly last year, the New York Jets picked up ASJ after the Bucs cut him and eventually worked him into the lineup after he dealt with a few injuries. He ended up catching 10 passes the rest of the season, but I think it’s instructive to go back and look at how the Jets used him in the passing game. The Jets had him split out wide at times, they had him in the slot, and they had him as a "stud" tight end at the end of the offensive line, which shows that they know that he brings a lot of versatility to the table.

It’s also worth noting that those 10 passes that he caught were the only 10 passes thrown to him. And not all of them were "easy" catches.

That just goes to show you how good ASJ's hands are. There has never been any doubt about the guy's talent level. But then you add to that the fact that it at least appears that he is finally sober and taking his sobriety seriously, there is a chance that he could be special this season.

What is unfortunate is that the Jets don't have much talent at quarterback, or we might see ASJ put up some ridiculous numbers this season even after he serves his two game suspension as a result of the DUI. Even with the guys they do have under center, I imagine that he will be one of the few players on that offense who actually worries defensive coordinators.

His hands are also good enough that he will make a bad quarterback at least look a little bit better. He doesn't need a pass to be perfectly thrown for him to come down with it. Regardless of who ends up throwing him the ball, I expect ASJ to have a big year.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if he ends up with the most receptions by seasons end, especially after Quincy Enunwa's season-ending injury.

Of course, saying nice things about ASJ has come back to bite me in the ass before, so I don't want to go too far overboard. The truth of the matter is only he knows if he will be able to stay sober this year. Whether he does or not will have a big impact on his production.

I hope that he has conquered his demons, because I really don't think he has even scratched the surface of what he can do with his size and ability. It would be a shame for all that talent to go to waste.

Jets fans aren't likely to have much to cheer about this season, but ASJ should be one of the few bright spots. That's why he is my choice for the Jets' breakout player of 2017.