(The opinions and analysis contained in this feature are those of the author and others credited and do not necessarily represent the thoughts and opinions of the Seahawks’ coaching staff and personnel department)
He possesses the preferred size (6 feet 5, 216 pounds). He had the production (221 receptions for 3,731 yards and 33 touchdowns in 42 games). He also has deceptive speed (4.58 seconds for 40 yards at his Pro Day workout).
So what is there not to like about Brandon Kaufman? He played at Eastern Washington University, where the level of competition comes with concerns. He also missed the 2011 season at EWU because of hand and knee injuries and his senior season at Heritage High School in Littleton, Colo., because of a major knee injury, which prompt red flags of a different sort entering the April 25-27 NFL Draft.
As for concern No. 1, Kaufman averaged six receptions for 116.3 yards and scored three touchdowns in games against Washington, Washington State, Idaho and Nevada last season. As for concern No. 2, he returned from both injuries – playing basketball his senior year in high school and catching 93 passes for 1,850 yards and 16 TDs last season at EWU.
Still, Rob Rang at NFLDraftScout.com rates Kaufman at No. 37 among the wide receivers and No. 307 overall in this year’s draft class, and projects him as a seventh-round selection, at best.
Kaufman discussed his situation during a Q&A session with the media at the NFL Scouting Combine in February:
Q: What prompted your decision to leave Eastern Washington rather than returning for your final season?
A: “It was a really tough decision because I love Eastern Washington. I think that ultimately it came down to No. 1, I feel that I’m ready to play at the next level, I’m very confident in that; and then No. 2, just wanting to play against the best competition there is.”
Q: So you feel you’re prepared for the NFL, despite playing at a smaller school?
A: “It is going to be a big jump, but I feel completely prepared for it. I feel like I matchup well with anyone. I played against some high talent in college. When I played against the 1-A schools I feel like I did well in all those games.”
Q: Are there any receivers in the NFL who you would compare your skill set to?
A: “I would say (the Chargers’) Malcolm Floyd would be the No. 1 guy. I try to emulate (the Texans’) Andre Johnson as much as I can, but I actually draw the most comparisons to Malcolm Floyd.”
Q: Do you like the idea of being the small school player with something to prove?
A: “Absolutely. I definitely have something to prove. I had something to prove the last four years after what happened in high school. I’ve always enjoyed that role. I’ve always kind of had that chip on my shoulder to prove that I’m just as good as anyone in the country.”
Q: What led you to Eastern Washington?
A: “Eastern Washington was my only offer, to be honest. I got injured at the Colorado camp my senior year right before the season started, so I didn’t play. Eastern Washington later came and watched me play basketball and they were my only offer.”