Tavon Austin Scouting Report
Tavon Austin, 5-9/176
By Charlie Campbell
Stretches the defense
Threat to score on any reception
Forces teams to keep a safety deep
Quick release off of the line
Dangerous as a ball-carrier
Good vision as a runner
Durability in the NFL
Won't be able to function as a possession receiver
Austin was one of the most electric play-makers in college football over the past two season. He produced a ton of yards and touchdowns for West Virginia. Defenses were unable to match up effectively against him.
Austin made his presence felt as a sophomore with eight touchdowns on 58 receptions for 787 yards in 2010. He and quarterback Geno Smith lit up the secondaries in 2011. The junior caught 101 passes for 1,186 yards and eight touchdowns.
Austin totaled 114 receptions for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns this year. He also had 72 carries for 643 yards and three touchdowns. Austin was an electric play-maker who was able to consistently produce long scoring plays.
Austin's 40 time at the combine is completely irrelevant. It doesn't matter if he runs slowly or quickly. There is no doubt that Austin has great football speed. Generally, it is a given that he is the fastest player on the field.
Austin looks like a deep threat receiver who will stretch NFL defenses. He can burn secondaries with his explosive speed and will be a threat to score on any touch. Austin may need to be protected to avoid injury given his size. A lot of carries and receptions will lead to him getting injured.
Austin has the flexibility to play in a West Coast offense or a pro-style offense. He would be a definite first-rounder if he weren't so undersized. There are few receivers who stick in the NFL who are so small, but Austin looks capable of breaking the mold.
It is extremely unlikely that Austin will be able to duplicate his college production, but he should be a productive receiver as long as he can stay in the lineup. The diminutive wide out's big-play ability makes him likely to go in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Player Comparison: DeSean Jackson.
The similarities between Austin and Jackson are uncanny. They are nearly identical in their size, speed and playing style. Jackson was a second-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft and Austin looks likely to be second-rounder in 2013. Like Jackson, Austin should be an electric play-maker, but he also could have the same injury issues.
Kansas City, Jacksonville, Buffalo, New York Jets, Miami, New England, Seattle
There a number of teams that might go after Austin. To start out the second round, both the Jaguars and Chiefs could use more receiver talent. Austin would bring a big-play threat to each team, and Jacksonville really lacks play-makers of Austin's ability.
All four teams in the AFC East could potentially take Austin. Buffalo could use more help at receiver. Austin could form a nice duo with Stevie Johnson. The Jets need talent at wide receiver, and Austin might interest them to help turn around Mark Sanchez. Miami has the worst receiving corps in the NFL and has to find some weapons for Ryan Tannehill. New England has veteran wide outs with uncertain futures. Austin could be a great long-term replacement for Wes Welker.
The Seahawks should build up their receiving corps for Russell Wilson, and Austin's big-play ability will appeal to Seattle. The Seahawks selected an undersized speedy athlete from West Virginia in the first round in the 2012 NFL Draft.
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