Ht: 5’8 Wt: 174
- Elite speed and quickness. Most explosive offensive player available in 2013 NFL Draft. Has the “juice”.
- Diverse offensive weapon. Can make a play in both the passing and running game.
- Adequate hands in the short and intermediate passing game.
- Top-end athlete that showcases flexibility and loose hips. Never has to gear down in route . Cleanly gets out of his breaks.
- Elite wiggle/COD with ball in his hands. His moves have moves.
- Elite top-end speed. Will instantly become one of the fastest WRs in the NFL.
- Elite burst off LOS. Gets to top speed in the blink of an eye.
- Adequate understanding of coverage. Finds and sits in soft spots in secondary. Becomes an easy target.
- Can bobble football at times. Not the cleanest pass catcher.
- Short. Likely limited to slot WR in NFL.
- Only 174 lbs. Will struggle vs. physical corners in NFL if he doesn’t win on quick first step.
- Too many of his big plays were gadget plays. He’s a projection to match big playmaking ability in traditional NFL offense.
Tavon Austin will be a 22-year-old rookie for the 2013 NFL Season. After starring at running back for Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Baltimore, Maryland, Austin was converted to wide receiver in 2009. It’s worth noting that during Austin’s senior year of high school, he rushed for an astonishing 2,660 yards and 34 TDs.
Austin’s film is a display of elite speed, quickness, and athleticism. In the scouting circle, “juice” is a coveted asset in an offensive prospect. Austin is “juice” defined. He’s a special player in that he can make high-end athletes around him look like they are running in slow motion. As a wide receiver, Austin presents as a player that will be limited to the slot position in the NFL. While “short”, he isn’t “small”. He won’t be able to win on a consistent basis vs. physical press coverage in the NFL. However, as a slot WR, his electric burst off the LOS will serve him well. He is a two-stepper in that he reaches top speed with very little effort and he will be a difficult coverage assignment for any defensive back. He has extremely loose hips which allow him to move at top speed even when changing direction. While his hands leave a little to be desired, he has adequate pass-catching skills for the short and intermediate passing game that he will likely be expected to execute. Austin has the natural long-range speed to be a threat in the vertical passing game, but it won’t be his primary role. As a route-runner, Austin is solid. His athleticism and ability to make sharp cuts helped him improvise a bit in college; something he won’t be able to rely on in the NFL. He will have to be refined a bit, but there’s no reason to assume he’s not up to the task.
Austin is a player that made a lot of big plays. That said, many of his breathtaking moments came when he lined up as a running back or when he was the recipient of a shuffle pass/reverse. While that will be incorporated by his future employer, it’s not something to rely on when evaluating his value moving forward. Focusing solely on his reps as a WR, Austin presents as one of the better players available in the 2013 NFL Draft.
While Austin likely won’t be one of the first players selected in April, he will be one of the biggest impact rookies in 2013. He is a rare offensive talent that when studied closely, has few peers. There are bigger, more prototype prospects available this year, but Austin’s level of speed and athleticism makes him an exception to the measureables rule. Tavon Austin projects as a pro bowl caliber talent who has a chance to end up being one of the best two or three players in the entire draft class.
GRADE: 8.9 (see grading scale)
PROJECTED ROUND: 1st Round Selection