Rams updates: Austin takes handoffs

6 hours ago By Joe Lyons jlyons@post-dispatch.com
Some quick observations after watching Friday's Organized Team Activities workout at Rams Park in Earth City:

Tavon Austin, chosen No. 8 overall in the recent NFL draft, took a few handoffs midway through practice. At West Virginia last fall, in addition to catching 114 passes for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns, Austin rushed 72 times for 643 yards and three scores.

With the Mountaineer backfield depleted by injury, he amassed a school-record 572 all-purpose yards against Oklahoma. He ran 21 times for 344 yards and two touchdowns, caught four passes for 82 yards and added 146 yards on eight kickoff returns.

Now, at 5-foot-8 and 174 pounds, Austin isn't likely to see a ton of time in the backfield at the NFL level. But with his versatility and explosiveness, he's clearly someone that opposing defensive coordinators will have to account for.

Quarterback Sam Bradford and new tight end Jared Cook seem to be clicking. Signed as a free agent, the ex-Tennessee Titan should be a huge part of the new-look Rams' attack.

Friday's workout included a number of catches on deep balls. Bradford hooked up with second-year wideout Chris Givens for a 40-yarder during an early 6-on-6 drill and again down the middle on another drill.

Later, in a hurry-up drill, Kellen Clemens completed deep-route passes to rookie Stedman Bailey and to Raymond Radway, a 6-4, 204-pound second-year receiver out of Abilene Christian.

Third-year receiver Austin Pettis also made a nice grab on a long pass.

The last player off the practice field Friday was rookie receiver ScottPillar, a 6-foot, 182-pound free agent Albright University in Reading, Pa. After running some post-practice routes with quarterback TimothyJenkins (Fort Lewis, Colo.) and fellow wideout Andrew Helmick (Lindenwood), Pillar finished up the day by catching passes from the Juggs gun.