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NFL Draft 2013 Rising Prospect – Tavon Austin

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Photo - WR Tavon Austin – West Virginia

Tavon Austin is a hot rising prospect entering the weeks before the NFL Draft 2013. His outstanding 2012 season and 2013 postseason has elevated him to a mid first round selection. His rare speed and quickness and natural running skills are ideal for the NFL game. He is earmarked to the Rams who hold two #1 picks, the 16th and 22nd overall selections. He would be an ideal fit for their young offense working with emerging QB Sam Bradford.

Tavon Austin #1- West Virginia -
5’9” 175 - Sp. 4.35 - Hindu Theory: Randall Cobb

Fast sure handed senior receiver/ returner completed an excellent career for WV, earning conference honors several time over his career. Tavon has been a consistently productive big play performer whether as a receiver, runner or return specialist. He combines explosive quickness and speed that allows him to make plays after the catch or returning kicks. He has shown consistent big play ability in those roles with the ability to make defenders miss or run away from them. Over his career, he has been a featured big play weapon for the wide open Mountaineer passing game and return units. He is a smallish all-purpose performer who has natural hands and running skills to fill a few key roles as a pro. He was a consistent playmaker in all roles and could earn the #3 job as a slot receiver early, in addition to both return duties. He is a reliable pass catcher who runs precise routes and displays sure hands that has allowed him to compensate for his lack of size. He is both quick and fast with the short area suddenness to create running room and hit an opening. He has top speed with the initial quickness to get into his routes nicely and the ability to make fast cuts at the break point and create consistent separation. He displays good AA and has a fine understanding of the passing game with the ability to adjust his routes and make the tough catch. He has the speed to get deep or take the short screen pass and make a big play using his natural running skills. Despite his marginal size, he displays the toughness and body control to make the difficult catch, take the big hit and hold on to the ball. He releases from the line quickly and fights thru the jam to get into his routes, though rarely tested as a collegian. After the catch, his top running ability makes things happen with his rare elusiveness to make defenders miss and speed to run away from tacklers. He is similar to the Packers’ Randall Cobb in speed, quickness, style and AA, though slightly smaller.
The Numbers: As a senior, he had 114 catches for 1289 yards for an 11.3 average and 12 TDs. He carried the ball 72 times for 680 yards and 3 TDs in addition to an 11 yard average as a punter returner with 1 TD and a 25.4 average as a KOR with 1 TD. It was a dynamic overall performance. As a junior, he had 101 catches for 1186 yards and 8 TDs for first team Big East. Over his career, he played in every game and had 288 catches for 3413 yards and 29 TDs and added 1070 yards rushing with 6 TDs and big plays as a returner. Over his career, he averaged 25 yards on kickoffs with 4 TDs with a 12 yard average as a punt returner including 1 TD. At the NFL Combine, he ran 4.34 and 4.36 times and did 14 reps. He had a 32” VL and a 10’ BJ with a 4.01 short shuttle. He performed very well in the receiving drills.
The Skinny: Very quick athlete with the ability to become an impact role player and probable starter. He is a good athlete with the talent to become an early RS with impact and game changing talent. He can be a slot receiver with the skill set to become a solid contributor. His top open field running skills gives his club a dangerous weapon in a number of roles. Highly-developed returner that must prove he can hold up to the physicality of the pro game, though he was rarely nicked up in college. He has the skill set to be a very good role player and he probably does not fall beyond the top 25 selections. Impact weapon in a few roles but must be used properly.
Draft Projection: 1st Round