If it’s one player’s draft stock that has risen since the combine, it’s Tavon Austin. Austin had a pretty good combine posting a 4.34 40 yard dash. Since then Austin has been considered one of the best wide receivers in the draft if not the best, and could very well be a top 15 pick. Austin is a great playmaker and can get to the end zone from pretty much anywhere on the field, whether it’s in the backfield, returning kickoffs and punts, or just at the wide receiver position, Austin can score. However, when it comes to a player like Austin, you just wonder if it’s too good to be true, and in case it definitely could be.
The main problem with Austin is obviously his size. The guy is only 5’8 174lbs. Given his size, Austin would be more susceptible to injury and if the Rams were to pick him at 16 they very well could be getting themselves into another Danny Amendola situation. The chances of Austin playing a full season in the NFC west aren’t likely. I can see Patrick Willis giving Austin concussion after concussion, getting hit running across the middle. It’s not impossible that Austin can’t play a full season as he stayed relatively healthy during his college career, but NFL linebackers hit a lot harder than those at the college level. Also Austin did struggle against a decent defense when WVU played Kansas St. Austin only had 6 receptions for 34 yards
Austin would also be strictly limited to the slot, because he lacks the size to play on the outside. The Rams do have a need at the slot receiver position, but why not draft DeAndre Hopkins or Justin Hunter instead and put them on the outside and then put Chris Givens who fits the mold of a slot receiver and put Givens in the slot? Austin does fill a need as a punt returner and kick returner, but you shouldn’t be drafting role guys in the first round.
Austin may not become a “bust”, but is it really worth the risk of him not being able to play a full season and only being limited to certain areas of the field. The Rams need playmakers, but I don’t think Austin is the answer there. Every year during the draft a team is taking a risk every time they choose a player. Some players are just a little more riskier than others. Austin may just be one of those risks.