Like Jared Goff, 2017 is a season the Los Angeles Rams would like to see Tavon Austin break out. Or at least, be the kind of player who finds some consistency in a brand new offense he has yet to play in.
Los Angeles Rams General Manager Les Snead is hoping to make the best out of a pending bust in receiver Tavon Austin. The team traded up to draft the West Virginia product with the eighth overall pick in 2013. Now, as an injury riddled offseason rolls into a preseason that has the Rams getting solid at his position, it’s a fair question to wonder about his role in LA.
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Issues with his wrist and now hamstring have kept him from getting any time in Sean McVay’s new offense. Add the dynamic of a rookie in Cooper Kupp emerging and the acquisition of Sammy Watkins, and some may wonder where the Rams and Austin go from here.
In a piece on Pro Footbal Talk, Snead talked about the challenges in Los Angeles with Austin getting on the field:
"“A freakish wrist injury that he actually did doing some clean and jerks during the offseason,” Snead said. “Can you imagine small Tavon doing cleans? Then he comes and has a small hamstring injury during camp.”"
The hope was that Austin would be the ‘big play guy’ lacking on a Rams offense that made few big plays.
It just hasn’t happened on any consistent basis.
For a career, he’s had 12 touchdowns receiving, eight rushing, and three as a punt returner.
The big question now for Austin and the Rams is how he will fit into what McVay wants to do. To date, he’s more often described as a “gadget type” player. To listen to Snead, his utility role might be something they like, but also something Pharoh Cooper can fill. Either way, they’d like to see something that can justify his selection.
"“We haven’t figured out how much he evolves as a receiver in this offense because he hasn’t had a chance to play,” Snead said."
Once he gets healthy, they’ll find out.
With the additions they made at receiver, and the upgrade via Watkins, his role may be more defined by his being on the outside looking in this offseason.
Los Angeles wants this pick to payoff. They need it to payoff. The pressure will be on Austin to deliver.