We continue to preview some of the players that will be available in the 2013 NFL draft.
Tavon Austin is one of the most dynamic play-makers in the draft, at the combine the West Virginia defensive coordinator commented that he had no idea how durable or tough Austin was because he just never got tackled in games or practice. In high school he was a a two tine consensus offensive player of the year for the state of Maryland. As a senior he rushed for 2,660 yards and scored 34 touchdowns, running at an amazing 12.2 yards per carry. He led his high school to three consecutive class 1A state titles. He instantly got off to a strong start at WVU playing in all 13 games as a freshman and starting four.
Weight: 174 lb's
Hands: 9 1'8"
40 yard: 4.34 (Top Performer)
Bench: 14 Reps
Broad Jump: 120.0"
20 yard shuttle: 4.01 seconds (Top performer)
Let me say that I absolutely love Tavon Austin, I like watching him play and I think whoever drafts him will get a real play-maker for the next 10 years. Quite simply he is absolutely electric with the ball in his hands, nobody is catching him from behind. He has excellent vision as a runner and his acceleration is as good as I have ever seen with a receiver. He shows real football IQ in running his routes, very tight in his cuts and his hands are exceptional. He catches the ball away from his body, has excellent body control to adjust to balls thrown his way. Always knows where the sticks and sidelines are. Although he has a light frame, when he has been hit he bounces straight back up. Can line up in the backfield or as a returner, but does the majority of his work in the slot. Spots soft areas in zone coverages and is nearly impossible to tackle in the open field. Has several moves and will vary his speed to keep defenders from locking on. So quick off the line it's hard to press him, and so fast it's hard to play off him. Explodes out of his breaks and works his way back to the QB or into open space if his route is not there. Will always give 100% with blocking.
174 is light and although he does have definition and strength in the upper body, will he be able to be durable at the next level, Percy Harvin is 20 lb's heavier than Tavon and he has taken some licks at the next level. Will be limited to working mostly in the slot as doesn't have the strength or build to stand up on the outside. As far as I can see there isn't a great deal not to like about Austin, he has all the talent in the world - his main negative is will he be on the field enough to utilize it.
Tavon is a first round talent that will be taken in the first 25 selections. I think the Rams could have interest, my fear is that the Dolphins will too. He is going to be a real nightmare to cover because of his acceleration, top end speed and change of direction ability. He was a threat to go the distance every single time he touched the football at West Virginia, and I don't expect that to change at the next level.
Would i draft him for the Jets?
I would love to have Tavon on the Jets, but I don't think it makes a great deal of sense as we have Kerley in the slot already. He is a great talent and he would instantly upgrade the Jets offensive potential, but at the end of the day we have more pressing needs and #9 is too high for Tavon in our situation, and he's never lasting to our selection in the 2nd round. If we had more tools in place and we needed a playmaker, I wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger, but not for us and not this year.