At 6-foot-5 and more than 250 pounds, Arkansas tight end Jeremy Sprinkle gives the Redskins a strong blocker opposite the likes of Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis.
While the Washington Redskins already had a strong set of receiving threats at the tight end position entering the offseason, headlined, of course, by Pro Bowler Jordan Reed, the team was seeking a blocking tight end in the 2017 NFL Draft.
They got just that in Arkansas tight end Jeremy Sprinkle in the fifth round. Listed as 6-foot-5, 252 pounds, Sprinkle did record 71 receptions for nearly 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns – an Arkansas school record for tight ends -- in his four seasons with the Razorbacks, but he's best in pass protection and working off opposing defenses with superb hand placement and long arms.
"He's a big guy that can do both," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "That's very exciting. That's very rare nowadays in college football. A lot of tight ends are athletic, can run, but when you ask them to put their hand on the ground and block that six-technique, it's a whole different ballgame. We feel like Jeremy can do a little bit of both."
From the time he played in his first career college game back in 2013 to the conclusion of his senior season last year, Sprinkle believes his blocking skills are what improved most significantly.
"I feel like this past season, just being able to be in those gap schemes and everything like that, it really gave me an opportunity to show that my in-line blocking is really good," Sprinkle said. "I feel like that part of my game is good and solid."
While Sprinkle hadn't hear much from the Redskins after meeting with the team at both the Senior Bowl at the NFL Scouting Combine, it was Washington who was on the other line when he got a call in the fifth round of the draft.
Sprinkle admitted it was a "big surprise," to find out the team that was selecting him, but he's excited to be joining a Redskins offense that utilizes the tight end position in multiple ways.
On Saturday, April 29, 2017, the Washington Redskins selected tight end Jeremy Sprinkle with the 154th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
"It was pretty exciting," Sprinkle said. "This has always been a big dream for me. To finally have it come true, it's a big moment for me right now."
While Sprinkle's senior season helped him jump up some draft board for NFL teams, the year concluded with him being suspended for Arkansas' bowl game against Virginia Tech. Sprinkle explained the off-field incident with teams in-depth and is ready to put the situation past him.
"I feel like it was a big disappointment for everyone around me," Sprinkle said. "Obviously it was something that was out of my character. I just learned that, you know, you just have to be the same person whether you think someone's watching or not."
Focused now on contributing for the Redskins, Sprinkle joins Reed along with Vernon Davis, Niles Paul, Derek Carrier and Wes Saxton as the sixth tight end on the roster.
From a weight standpoint, Sprinkle comes in as the heaviest tight end, four pounds heavier than both Davis and Carrier and six pounds heavier than Reed.
While it's a good starting point for the 22-year-old, the coaching staff actually wants to see Sprinkle get a little bit bigger once he gets to the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
"He's still got to develop his upper body, but I think we get him in our building, get him in the weight room… He's got the length, he's got the size, he's got the toughness," Gruden said. "I think he's a good pick."