The holiday season brings plenty of gifts, including in the NFL.
NFL teams needing help at tight end and defensive end likely were pleased with the decision of two big, talented athletes -- Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Boise State's Demarcus Lawrence -- who each are electing to forgo their senior seasons and enter the 2014 NFL draft.
Shortly after his Huskies defeated the BYU Cougars 31-16 last night in the Fight Hunger Bowlm Seferian-Jenkins announced his plans.
Convincing Seferian-Jenkins to return for one more season was likely one of new head coach Chris Petersen's top priorites since taking over for Steve Sarkisian, who left Washington to coach at USC.
While Petersen barely had an opportunity to get to know Seferian-Jenkins, Lawrence starred for him with the Broncos, leading the Mountain West with 10.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss in 2013.
Lawrence, who appears bigger on tape than his listed 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, signed with the Broncos two years ago after a tour with Butler Community College.
The native of Aiken, South Carolina possesses good speed off the edge and was used in a variety of roles with the Broncos, lining up at virtually every position along the defensive line during his stay in Boise.
He possesses enough quickness to cross the face of would-be blockers and has strong, active hands to swim over the top or rip through their attempts to control him. Workouts will be key to Lawrence's final grade as teams operating with a 3-4 scheme will want to see if he possesses the fluidity and straight-line speed necessary for playing outside linebacker. Lawerence projects well as an undersized or LEO defensive end in the 4-3 alignment, the scheme in which he's starred the past two seasons with the Broncos.
Lawrence recorded five tackles, including one for loss in Boise State's 38-23 loss to Oregon State in the Hawaii Bowl to cap his collegiate career. He made his intentions known via Facebook with the following statement.
“I am releasing this statement to inform everyone at Boise State University and all of the fans of Bronco Nation of my decision to forgo my final year of eligibility and enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
“For these last two years I have had the honor of being part of the Boise State family and have had an incredibly special group of teammates, coaches, trainers, and staff around me. While Coach Peterson's decision to take the Washington job had some influence on my decision I felt it was in the best interests of my family and myself to pursue my lifelong dream to become an NFL player.
“It is my hope in making this decision that my coaches, administration, teammates and the Broncos fans continue to support me both through prayer and encouragement in the pursuit of my dreams.
“Thank you all for your time and understanding in this matter and I wish everyone at Boise State University much success.”