Tavon Austin is already up against some pretty lofty expectations since being drafted with the #8 overall selection in the 2013 draft. Being taken in the top ten of the NFL Draft will always come with high expectations, the fact that the Rams traded up from the 16th to the 8th spot in order to select Austin doesn’t help either. Then there is the fact that Austin was the first “skill position” player taken in the 2013 draft and all of a sudden the spotlight burns pretty brightly on the young kid out of West Virginia University. Austin is being touted as the odds on favorite to win the Rookie of the Year for the 2013 season as well. If you are a Rams fan than surely by now you have read dozens of articles about the impact Austin could have on the Rams offense. You have probably watched every highlight reel you could find on YouTube and are keeping your fingers crossed that Austin can translate what he did at WVU to the NFL. So what is a reasonable expectation for the dynamic receiver/runner/returner in his rookie season?
The guys over at numberFire decided to throw some numbers together to help quantify reasonable expectations for Austin in his rookie season. The article can be viewed here, and is actually quite interesting so I recommend giving it a look. They essentially used some complex analytics to try to compare Austin’s NFL Combine numbers (DeSean Jackson and Calvin Johnson are the top two matches) to other recent WRs to find the closest match. They then took into consideration the teams and the players expected role within that team and narrowed down the previous list a little more. Eventually they had compiled a list of 6 players from which to base their projections from.
When all was said and done their complex analysis projects Tavon Austin to be among the top 20-25 wide receivers of 2013. His combined statline is projected to be 59 receptions for 961 total yards and 8 total TDs. I am sure that a majority of Rams fans would be quite pleased with this level of production out of Austin but as I look at the numbers I just have one question, do these numbers take into account Austin’s potential role in the running and return game? Based off of the very limited knowledge of the process used to project these numbers I would guess not, so what I want to know is do the guys over at numberFire have a three-part projection in mind? These sorts of projections are mostly a way to fill time between now and the regular season, but I for one would be interested in seeing what the other two parts of the projection could possibly look like.
Thanks for reading and as always, Go Rams!!!