The losses of veteran wide receivers Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson was a dagger to Sam Bradfords chest. Although, with the addition of four time pro bowler left tackle Jake Long and former Titan tight end Jared Cook, Bradford will be looking forward to a solid 2013 offensive performance. Regardless of the helpful additions to the Rams offense, it’s still evident that the Rams must give Bradford more weapons. Since the Rams haven’t even put their toes into the free agency pool, it’s obvious that the Rams will be looking to solidify their receiving corps in the 2013 national draft.
For the past month, Cordarralle Patterson and Tavon Austin have been seperating themselves from the rest of the receiving corps due to their explosive performances at the combine and their pro days. Why directly compare Austin and Patterson? It’s simple, both players kick/punt return and both players are heavily involved in the passing and running game. With the NFL slowly evolving into a more slot receiving happy league, it would make sense for either player to land with the Rams – but which one?
Tavon Austin - 5 foot 9 / 178 pounds
Wide Receiver - West Virginia
Sam Bradford is missing his safety blanket in Danny Amendola, as he left for the New England Patriots for a more lucrative deal. Outsiders looking in, would simply say “its just a slot receiver,” and you can’t argue with that. But Tiger Woods is just a golfer, he just also happens to be a damn good one and Tavon Austin is exactly that. Over the past two years, there was no question that Austin has been one of the most exciting and explosive players in college football.
Austin made a name for himself as a sophomore with eight touchdowns on 58 receptions for 787 yards in 2010. As a Junior he did not disappoint. The junior caught 101 passes for 1,186 yards and eight touchdowns.
As a Senior, Austin and Geno Smith tore apart secondaries. 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 a genius in turning an average play into big yardage.
With Bradford not having the luxury to look out wide to a reliable receiver, it would make a lot sense for the Rams to snatch this dynamic slot receiver to help Bradford turn those dinky little 3 yard dump offs to short passes that go to the house.
- Elite speed
- Good route runner
- Contributes as RB/Returner
- Good Hands
- Stretches the defense
- Threat to score on any possession
- Very undersized
- May lack the physicality to take constant hits
Cordarrelle Patterson has a great build, coupled with some serious athleticism, to make it big in the NFL. Although he is unpolished as a route runner, once he has the ball in his hands (much like Austin), he has great YAC potential and can be a game-breaker from anywhere on the field. Since the NFL is starting to see these players who can do it all on offense, it would make a tonne of sense for the Rams to take a shot on a big bodied receiver with a lot of play making abilities. The NFC West has recently added another multi-purpose offensive talent to its division in former Viking, Percy Harvin, who is now a Hawk. If the Rams do decide to take Patterson, it would be a great way to set the tone for the rest of the NFC West.
In 2012, Patterson transfered from small school Hutchinson CC to Tennessee. Many doubted that he would be able to transfer his performance from the smaller colleges to the SEC. He answered those critics by lighting up matches, that included a 200+ receiving game against Troy. This was a superb performance, but Patterson’s weaknesses were exposed more against teams that had NFL caliber talent, such as Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Against such teams, he only had a total of six catches for 82 yards and no touchdowns. Although he does has a lot to show, he still has a lot to prove. Patterson had 46 catches for 778 yards and 5 touchdowns receiving and 308 yards for 3 touchdowns in 25 rushing attempts.
- Big bodied
- Elite speed
- Spreads defenses
- Not scared to take hits
- Can go up and take a catch in the middle
- Constantly a body catcher
- Very raw
- Didn’t prove himself against first round talents
- Lacks as a route-runner
- NFL learning curve will be steep
So there you have it. Will it be Tavon Austin? Or will it be the bigger bodied Cordarrelle Patterson? Right now, I see Sam Bradford being more comfortable with Austin, simply because year after year he has put up bigger and better numbers and he will only continue to grow. Patterson is still very raw and the Rams already have that big bodied raw wide receiver in Brian Quick. Bradford doesn’t have three years to wait on a potentially gifted wide receiver to blossom. If the Rams miss out on Austin, it would make more sense to grab Keenan Allen with the 22nd pick. But that’s another story for another time. Bradford just lost his favourite target in Amendola, why not replace him straight away with a more explosive, dangerous and faster play maker?
Leave your comments below, what’s your opinion?