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Thread: The thing that makes me hesitate with Tavon Austin...

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    Re: The thing that makes me hesitate with Tavon Austin...

    5'8" 173 lbs ... I know he's fast but sooner or later when they catch him they are gonna hurt him... I think we would be waisting a first rounder and we cant afford to waist another pick on a WR (Quick) that early...
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    Re: The thing that makes me hesitate with Tavon Austin...

    Ah, the annual spring ritual of mock drafts. Everybody's got one, and everybody has a "source". The honest answer is that there is no real answer to your question. Prospects will be evaluated and dissected until every candidate is a potential bust, but nobody has the real inside track. If he's truly valued by a team, then it will be a complete secrect. Everything else is just an assumption. But I guess that's the most fun from all of this, right?

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    Re: The thing that makes me hesitate with Tavon Austin...

    Two prospects scare the hell out of me in this draft Austin and Lane Johnson. Both are projected way to high in my opinion. Both high potential, let's wait and see how it translates in the NFL guys.

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    Re: The thing that makes me hesitate with Tavon Austin...

    More buzz about Tavon Austin

    Kiper, McShay and Cosell on Tavon Austin

    By gb60 -

    In the most recent edition of the ESPN First Draft podcast, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay took some time, while hypothesizing what the Carolina Panthers might do with the 14th pick of the draft, to slap some pretty fulsome praise on the 5'8" 174lb frame of Tavon Austin. Here are some highlights from their discussion:

    Said McShay:

    "Tavon Austin is a flat out stud. I know he's small...but man is he a player. I watched him in the pro day. He barely broke a sweat."

    Kiper added:

    "He's a we and us guy. He's not me and I. He not about flash. He's not about highlight films and worrying about 'hey talk about me' 'look at this great thing I did' 'watch this great move in the open field'. He's serious. He's one of those guys who's got that...game face."

    McShay said he had talked to Austin's college coach Dana Holgorsen who had said:

    "The best thing about Tavon that nobody really knows is his toughness. I can't tell you how many times he's battled through little aches and pains, a lot of other guys would have taken some time off. In four years of practice...Tavon Austin didn't miss one"

    McShay continued on that theme in his own words:

    "What you worry about in terms of him being small and holding up and durability, you get that concern eased a little bit when you watch the way he works and you hear guys around him talk about his work ethic and his toughness and his background and what he's been through. The fact that he's coachable."

    Kiper finished with this:

    "Wherever he's been: high school, college and now the NFL, he has been spectacular. In this day and age of the NFL...he is built for what the NFL is right now."

    McShay's words backed up what was a ringing endorsement of the player:

    "Outside of his size, it's hard to find holes in this guy's game."

    The general man crush on the West Virginia receiver was echoed earlier this week by Greg Cosell, who took to Twitter to say:

    "If NFL is passing/space league, why is WVU Austin not top 10 pick. Most explosive playmaker in draft. Can align anywhere. Matchup nightmare"

    And, seeming to preempt Rams fans inevitable questions about the wisdom of drafting Austin having just given a pretty hefty contract to Jared Cook, who seems destined to find himself in the slot more often than not, he has this:

    "To me Austin is a special playmaker. Not solely a slot WR. That's too limiting + too conventional."

    Whatever you feel about the value of Kiper, McShay and/or Cosell's opinions, this is pretty stirring stuff, and certainly something to chew on for Rams fans if Austin is available to them at any point in round one. It is however worth noting that, since 2001, a period in which West Virginia have had, by consensus, one of the top offenses in college football, they have only had two receivers drafted, Chris Henry and Rasheed Marshall in 2005, and neither had particular success in the NFL, although Henry's career was obviously cut short by his premature death in 2009.

    During the podcast, McShay took some time to talk about the 2013 wide receiver class in general, and Cordarrelle Patterson in particular:

    "My concern is, at least in the first two or three years of his career, we’re going to have to be constantly labouring to find ways to get the ball in this guy’s hands and to simplify things so that he doesn’t get overwhelmed and short circuited trying to digest an entire NFL playbook when he has so little experience at the big time college level, doesn’t really understand running routes and reading coverages and all those little things."

    Comparing Patterson to Austin:

    "To me Austin is so much more polished and provides so much more in terms of what you can do getting the ball in his hands."

    Finally on the wide receivers available in the 2013 draft:

    "This receiver class is not exceptional by any stretch, and there’s no Calvin Johnson, there’s no Julio Jones or AJ Green or anyone like that but there’s a lot of good players when you start to get into the middle of the first…all the way through the third round. It’s going to be interesting to see how they all come off the board"

    That is certainly good news for the Rams when you consider that they will probably be looking for multiple wide receivers in this draft.

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    Re: The thing that makes me hesitate with Tavon Austin...

    Quote Originally Posted by jerseyramsfan View Post
    5'8" 173 lbs ... I know he's fast but sooner or later when they catch him they are gonna hurt him... I think we would be waisting a first rounder and we cant afford to waist another pick on a WR (Quick) that early...

    You sound like a loving mother but......

    Though it would seem logical that his smallish stature would expose him more to injury, the reality is that he has not missed a game in 8 years, which speaks much louder to me than some undocumented theory.

    And that is all I need to hear about his size.

    Besides, everybody who plays for any extended period is likely to be injured at some point.....yes 300pounders too.
    lostsoul and Randart like this.

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    Re: The thing that makes me hesitate with Tavon Austin...

    I'd rather have Austin over any other WR in this year's draft class, including Patterson; Patterson seems more raw to me while Austin looks like he can step right in and contribute, whether its in the slot, out wide, backfield, or in the return game. Why draft another outside WR when neither Givens or Quick is particularly any good in the slot and much better on the edge; I'd much rather keep Quick and Givens out wide with Cook and Austin lining up everywhere and anywhere in between, creating mismatch problems for the opposing defenses.
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    Re: The thing that makes me hesitate with Tavon Austin...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I find myself in kind of an interesting vantage point, since I've watched him here in Morgantown since he arrived. A lot of the praise I agree with, but some I don't. For instance, I don't know how some can say with such certainty that he can line up outside at the pro level. It wasn't his forte at WVU, as he made most of his receiving highlights by outmaneuvering defenders over the middle of the field from the slot.
    If he can't be sucessful outside then the coach's job is to line him up where he can be sucessful.

    If that's the slot then so be it.

    I personally am not endorsing him as an outside receiver. I like him in the slot, in the backfield, and in motion, where he is the most potent weapon coming out of college this year.

    They had the same trepidation about Desean Jackson when he came out.

    Bottom line though, it doesn't really matter.

    What matters is getting him the ball in space, however you accomplish that.

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    Re: The thing that makes me hesitate with Tavon Austin...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fortuninerhater View Post
    If he can't be sucessful outside then the coach's job is to line him up where he can be sucessful.

    If that's the slot then so be it.

    I personally am not endorsing him as an outside receiver. I like him in the slot, in the backfield, and in motion, where he is the most potent weapon coming out of college this year.

    They had the same trepidation about Desean Jackson when he came out.

    Bottom line though, it doesn't really matter.

    What matters is getting him the ball in space, however you accomplish that.
    This is where I think it gets tricky, because the presumption is the Rams just gave Cook a very large contract to spend a lot of time in the slot as a receiver. In other offenses, maybe that wouldn't be an issue, but the Rams don't strike me as a team that's going to feature two slot receivers very often. So if Austin isn't going to spend a lot of time lined up outside, and quite a few of the slot routes are going to be taken by Cook, suddenly the opportunities begin to shrink, don't they?

    Even if you plan to line him up in the backfield or let him return kicks/punts, you're probably still talking about a small number of touches in those roles. For comparison's sake, Percy Harvin averaged 2-3 rushing attempts per game as a Viking; Brad Smith in Schotty's offense in New York certainly didn't get more attempts than that as a receiver/part-time rusher. As for special teams, even if you were optimistic and factored in a high number of kick and punt returns (70 total on the year, let's say), that's a little over four touches a game in that role.

    So we can talk about Austin's versatility, and he certainly is versatile. I've seen it in person quite a lot. But when you put a specific number on it - say, 3 rushes per game and four kick/punt returns - and you don't envision him spending a lot of time on the outside as a receiver and you already have a guy you're giving big money to as a slot target, are you really getting the kind of return you'd expect from a mid first round pick?

    Now, if the Rams plan to use Cook as more of an in-line player than the Titans have the last two years, that could certainly change things and allow Tavon more opportunities in the slot. But that's just the hurdle I'm trying to get over here. Without Cook on the roster, I wouldn't have any hang-ups about adding Tavon. My mindset has been he makes a ton of sense if Amendola doesn't return, because then there's a clear slot vacancy for Tavon to fill. The guy is electric and I think he could do wonders in the right situation, but I worry this isn't the best situation when you factor in Cook's addition and the offensive scheme.

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    Re: The thing that makes me hesitate with Tavon Austin...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Sorry, that got very rambly.
    Definition of Rambly:

    The art of extensively expressing one's expert insight as it relates to Rams football.
    Nick and Tampa_Ram like this.

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    Re: The thing that makes me hesitate with Tavon Austin...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    This is where I think it gets tricky, because the presumption is the Rams just gave Cook a very large contract to spend a lot of time in the slot as a receiver. In other offenses, maybe that wouldn't be an issue, but the Rams don't strike me as a team that's going to feature two slot receivers very often. So if Austin isn't going to spend a lot of time lined up outside, and quite a few of the slot routes are going to be taken by Cook, suddenly the opportunities begin to shrink, don't they?

    Even if you plan to line him up in the backfield or let him return kicks/punts, you're probably still talking about a small number of touches in those roles. For comparison's sake, Percy Harvin averaged 2-3 rushing attempts per game as a Viking; Brad Smith in Schotty's offense in New York certainly didn't get more attempts than that as a receiver/part-time rusher. As for special teams, even if you were optimistic and factored in a high number of kick and punt returns (70 total on the year, let's say), that's a little over four touches a game in that role.

    So we can talk about Austin's versatility, and he certainly is versatile. I've seen it in person quite a lot. But when you put a specific number on it - say, 3 rushes per game and four kick/punt returns - and you don't envision him spending a lot of time on the outside as a receiver and you already have a guy you're giving big money to as a slot target, are you really getting the kind of return you'd expect from a mid first round pick?

    Now, if the Rams plan to use Cook as more of an in-line player than the Titans have the last two years, that could certainly change things and allow Tavon more opportunities in the slot. But that's just the hurdle I'm trying to get over here. Without Cook on the roster, I wouldn't have any hang-ups about adding Tavon. My mindset has been he makes a ton of sense if Amendola doesn't return, because then there's a clear slot vacancy for Tavon to fill. The guy is electric and I think he could do wonders in the right situation, but I worry this isn't the best situation when you factor in Cook's addition and the offensive scheme.
    I certainly understand the concern over where his touches will come from, but I also have the utmost confidence in Schottenheimer to get the job done, should we be fortunate enough to draft Austin.
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    Re: The thing that makes me hesitate with Tavon Austin...

    Worth reading on the subject of Tavon Austin.

    St. Louis Rams 2013 NFL Draft: A Case Against Tavon Austin
    by Nathan Kearns
    St. Louis Rams 2013 NFL Draft: A Case Against Tavon Austin - Ramblin' Fan - A St. Louis Rams Fan Site - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.


    Yes, despite the infatuation with the opening of free agency there is still going to be an NFL Draft this year. Naturally, the mock drafts that have been circulating since mid-December will now be drastically altered, compensating for the roster moves made by each organization. Miami will likely not be looking to fill a void at wide receiver, Pittsburgh will now look to put some pieces around Roethlisberger, and Baltimore will be looking to revamp their entire “Back-8″ in the defense. For St. Louis, free agency as likely narrowed their “options” in the first round, with seemingly no need to look for a tackle (assuming Jake Long signs) or a tight end. The release of Danny Amendola and Quintin Mikell suggests that the St. Louis Rams will be looking towards the draft to fill those holes, which takes us to into our debate…

    Most post-free agency mocks have the St. Louis Rams targeting a wide receiver with the 16th overall pick in the draft. The analysts seems to be split, with roughly half having Cordarrelle Patterson in that slot, and the other half putting the golden horns on Tavon Austin. Coincidentally, the two have been battling for the top of the wide receiver board since the Combine, and after an amazing showing at West Virginia’s Pro Day, many have Tavon Austin moved to the tippy top of the “best available” list at the skill positions.

    No one would be upset with a player like Austin joining the squad, especially give the potential contributions on both special teams and within the offense. However, fans and analysts alike seem to be smitten with his explosiveness in college to the point where they are blind to the reality of one undeniable weakness, one that cannot be improved with coaching, practice, or experience; his size. Tavon Austin measured in at an astounding 5’8 tall, 174 lbs. at the Combine, making him one of the smallest overall players at the Combine, trumped only by the occasional running back and defensive back. And, while we have seen many “shorter” player succeed in the NFL, we have never seen anyone with that combination of “smallness” perform at the next level. Here is some history to show just that…

    There have only been six players in the history of the NFL that played at 5’8 (or shorter) and weighed under 180 lbs. that gained over 2,000 receiving yards throughout their entire career. The most “dominate” of those players was Tim Dwight, who was 5’8, 180 lbs., and played from 1998 until 2007. Dwight started a mere 32 games in the NFL, and ended his career with 194 receptions, 2964 yards, and 19 touchdowns.

    In the return game, players like Dante Hall and Allen Rossum have had success, both racking up 10,000+ return yards with 5 or more kickoff return touchdowns in their careers. However, their impact on the actual offense was negligible, with Hall pulling in a minuscule 162 receptions and 1,747 yards in his nine seasons in the league.

    Testing the bounds of this correlation between height and performance, moving the height-o-meter up a full inch to 5’9 does not shed light on much more success in the league. The increased range does generate some names, like Steve Smith (Carolina), Gary Clark, Mark Clayton, Deion Branch, Wes Welker, and Hall-of-Famer, Tim McDonald. However, those addition inclusions share a common thread that has likely attributed to their success in the league; weight. The modern players, like Welker, Smith, and Branch, all weigh at least 185 lbs., and that bulk on their small frame shows when watching them play on the field. “Chippiness” and “toughness” have been labels thrown on both Smith and Welker since they emerged as perennial threats in the NFL. Smith plays on the outside, but Welker, much like Austin would in the NFL, plays primarily in the slot. Slot players are frequently ask to run across the face of linebackers, or to curl and slant in the zone between the deep safety and the second level of the defense, putting that player in a position to take multiple, devastating hits throughout the season. Welker has maintained his health in New England, but done so, primarily, out of the a spread offense and with an additional 15 lbs. of bulk to absorb the hits, playing consistently at 190 lbs. or more throughout his career. Austin would have neither of those luxuries in St. Louis…

    Naturally, that points to being “undersized” in the weight department as the potential deterrent for success in the NFL, which would make sense given the increasingly violent nature of the game. We see receiver after receiver in the NFL leave with injury after a big hit, just ask Mohamed Massaquoi in Cleveland, who is constantly injured playing in the rugged AFC North despite his 6’0, 210 lbs. frame. So, looking through history, has anyone had success with such a petite frame? A wide receiver weighing under 175 lbs. has surpassed 800 receiving yards in a season only 10 times in the “modern” age of football, which we are going to subjectively mark as beginning in the 2000-2001 season. Of those 10 times, Marvin Harrison accounted for seven (each seasons from 2000 to 2008), with the other three belonging to Steve Breaston, Anthony Armstrong, and Dennis Northcutt. And, while those receivers were successful playing at such a light weight, they each have something that Austin does not… each is, at least, 5’11 tall.

    There are always exceptions to the rules in the NFL, with players like Drew Brees and Russell Wilson breaking the mold on “undersized” quarterbacks. However, slot receivers and running backs take a beating in this league unlike any other position in the NFL. Tavon Austin has the credential of a clean injury history, but will not be playing against Big 12-caliber talent at the next level. The expectations that he could be used as a utility back and in the return game, on top of lining up in the slot, only increases the likelihood that Austin could be injured. The St. Louis Rams have not had luck keeping undersized players healthy; think Donnie Avery or Danny Amendola. With players like Cordarrelle Patterson likely available in the first, and multiple projected slot receivers likely to be available in the mid- and latter rounds of the draft, the St. Louis Rams would be smart to invest in someone with a little more meat on their bones. For fans that are craving a sub-6’0, 4.3 40-time guy that can be used as a utility player in the offense… there is already one on the roster; Chris Givens. Grab a player with a true, outside wide receiver build to pair with Brian Quick and let the offense get creative moving Givens and the newly-acquired Jared Cook around in the formation.End


    I don't know that he has swayed my opinion on "lil dynamite",but a good read with some valid thoughts none the less.

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    Re: The thing that makes me hesitate with Tavon Austin...

    Quote Originally Posted by mde8352gorams View Post
    Worth reading on the subject of Tavon Austin.

    St. Louis Rams 2013 NFL Draft: A Case Against Tavon Austin
    by Nathan Kearns
    St. Louis Rams 2013 NFL Draft: A Case Against Tavon Austin - Ramblin' Fan - A St. Louis Rams Fan Site - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.


    Yes, despite the infatuation with the opening of free agency there is still going to be an NFL Draft this year. Naturally, the mock drafts that have been circulating since mid-December will now be drastically altered, compensating for the roster moves made by each organization. Miami will likely not be looking to fill a void at wide receiver, Pittsburgh will now look to put some pieces around Roethlisberger, and Baltimore will be looking to revamp their entire “Back-8″ in the defense. For St. Louis, free agency as likely narrowed their “options” in the first round, with seemingly no need to look for a tackle (assuming Jake Long signs) or a tight end. The release of Danny Amendola and Quintin Mikell suggests that the St. Louis Rams will be looking towards the draft to fill those holes, which takes us to into our debate…

    Most post-free agency mocks have the St. Louis Rams targeting a wide receiver with the 16th overall pick in the draft. The analysts seems to be split, with roughly half having Cordarrelle Patterson in that slot, and the other half putting the golden horns on Tavon Austin. Coincidentally, the two have been battling for the top of the wide receiver board since the Combine, and after an amazing showing at West Virginia’s Pro Day, many have Tavon Austin moved to the tippy top of the “best available” list at the skill positions.

    No one would be upset with a player like Austin joining the squad, especially give the potential contributions on both special teams and within the offense. However, fans and analysts alike seem to be smitten with his explosiveness in college to the point where they are blind to the reality of one undeniable weakness, one that cannot be improved with coaching, practice, or experience; his size. Tavon Austin measured in at an astounding 5’8 tall, 174 lbs. at the Combine, making him one of the smallest overall players at the Combine, trumped only by the occasional running back and defensive back. And, while we have seen many “shorter” player succeed in the NFL, we have never seen anyone with that combination of “smallness” perform at the next level. Here is some history to show just that…

    There have only been six players in the history of the NFL that played at 5’8 (or shorter) and weighed under 180 lbs. that gained over 2,000 receiving yards throughout their entire career. The most “dominate” of those players was Tim Dwight, who was 5’8, 180 lbs., and played from 1998 until 2007. Dwight started a mere 32 games in the NFL, and ended his career with 194 receptions, 2964 yards, and 19 touchdowns.

    In the return game, players like Dante Hall and Allen Rossum have had success, both racking up 10,000+ return yards with 5 or more kickoff return touchdowns in their careers. However, their impact on the actual offense was negligible, with Hall pulling in a minuscule 162 receptions and 1,747 yards in his nine seasons in the league.

    Testing the bounds of this correlation between height and performance, moving the height-o-meter up a full inch to 5’9 does not shed light on much more success in the league. The increased range does generate some names, like Steve Smith (Carolina), Gary Clark, Mark Clayton, Deion Branch, Wes Welker, and Hall-of-Famer, Tim McDonald. However, those addition inclusions share a common thread that has likely attributed to their success in the league; weight. The modern players, like Welker, Smith, and Branch, all weigh at least 185 lbs., and that bulk on their small frame shows when watching them play on the field. “Chippiness” and “toughness” have been labels thrown on both Smith and Welker since they emerged as perennial threats in the NFL. Smith plays on the outside, but Welker, much like Austin would in the NFL, plays primarily in the slot. Slot players are frequently ask to run across the face of linebackers, or to curl and slant in the zone between the deep safety and the second level of the defense, putting that player in a position to take multiple, devastating hits throughout the season. Welker has maintained his health in New England, but done so, primarily, out of the a spread offense and with an additional 15 lbs. of bulk to absorb the hits, playing consistently at 190 lbs. or more throughout his career. Austin would have neither of those luxuries in St. Louis…

    Naturally, that points to being “undersized” in the weight department as the potential deterrent for success in the NFL, which would make sense given the increasingly violent nature of the game. We see receiver after receiver in the NFL leave with injury after a big hit, just ask Mohamed Massaquoi in Cleveland, who is constantly injured playing in the rugged AFC North despite his 6’0, 210 lbs. frame. So, looking through history, has anyone had success with such a petite frame? A wide receiver weighing under 175 lbs. has surpassed 800 receiving yards in a season only 10 times in the “modern” age of football, which we are going to subjectively mark as beginning in the 2000-2001 season. Of those 10 times, Marvin Harrison accounted for seven (each seasons from 2000 to 2008), with the other three belonging to Steve Breaston, Anthony Armstrong, and Dennis Northcutt. And, while those receivers were successful playing at such a light weight, they each have something that Austin does not… each is, at least, 5’11 tall.

    There are always exceptions to the rules in the NFL, with players like Drew Brees and Russell Wilson breaking the mold on “undersized” quarterbacks. However, slot receivers and running backs take a beating in this league unlike any other position in the NFL. Tavon Austin has the credential of a clean injury history, but will not be playing against Big 12-caliber talent at the next level. The expectations that he could be used as a utility back and in the return game, on top of lining up in the slot, only increases the likelihood that Austin could be injured. The St. Louis Rams have not had luck keeping undersized players healthy; think Donnie Avery or Danny Amendola. With players like Cordarrelle Patterson likely available in the first, and multiple projected slot receivers likely to be available in the mid- and latter rounds of the draft, the St. Louis Rams would be smart to invest in someone with a little more meat on their bones. For fans that are craving a sub-6’0, 4.3 40-time guy that can be used as a utility player in the offense… there is already one on the roster; Chris Givens. Grab a player with a true, outside wide receiver build to pair with Brian Quick and let the offense get creative moving Givens and the newly-acquired Jared Cook around in the formation.End


    I don't know that he has swayed my opinion on "lil dynamite",but a good read with some valid thoughts none the less.
    I can't stress enough that in the game of football guys will get hurt.

    Big players are no more protected from harm than the little ones.

    More "meat on your bones" may in fact be the reason why you weren't quick enough to avoid injury on a given play. Or it may be that you had just enough meat to hit to get injured.

    No one has a full-proof method of how to avoid injuries, they are simply part of the game. And they don't discriminate. Meaning they are going to happen no matter what you do, outside of retiring from the game all together.

    Most would say that DX is a huge receiver and we all know his injury history.

    So you can gather all the statistics you want about big players, small players, and all those in between yet I have never seen an injury that small players aquire that larger players don't also get.

    In summary, and the bottom line is, Tavon Austin is likely as big as he's ever been, yet he hasn't missed a game in 8 years. That in itself is impressive to me.

    What else do I need to know?

    Nothing.
    Vinnie25 likes this.

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    With all this injury talk about big vs small players it makes me think outside the box a bit becuase, logic says a smaller player will probably get hurt more than a bigger player, but we all know this isnt true at all. Idk if the nfl ever looked into it in depth but being prone to injury starts in the bedroom. Just like speed, size, and quickness starts in the bedroom, but those things are tangible... They are obvious to see and measure. Just a thought.

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    Re: The thing that makes me hesitate with Tavon Austin...

    Where did all the hype come from? When he ran a 4.34, he became a different prospect than when he was thought to run a 4.40+.

    Last year people kept claiming speed didn't matter in the draft, it does.
    I wouldn't discount his getting catches over the middle, I'd call it a luxury to know he is willing to run those routes. Size is nice, it's not required. Every year people claim that shorter players will directly relate to more injuries and it just isn't the case. Ray Rice is 5'8 also and will get 4x the touches and hit far more than that. He's holding up very well.

    Probably over rated in the top 15. I see him as a smaller but more dynamic version of Torrey Smith.

    The reason I don't see the Rams taking him is that he's a slightly better version of Chris Givens. To play Austin means you bench Givens and I don't see the Rams wanting to do that. Givens is already slotted as a starting WR for this team in my opinion.
    Last edited by RebelYell; -03-26-2013 at 02:48 PM.

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    Re: The thing that makes me hesitate with Tavon Austin...

    Quote Originally Posted by RebelYell View Post
    Where did all the hype come from? When he ran a 4.34, he became a different prospect than when he was thought to run a 4.40+.

    Last year people kept claiming speed didn't matter in the draft, it does.
    I wouldn't discount his getting catches over the middle, I'd call it a luxury to know he is willing to run those routes. Size is nice, it's not required. Every year people claim that shorter players will directly relate to more injuries and it just isn't the case. Ray Rice is 5'8 also and will get 4x the touches and hit far more than that. He's holding up very well.

    Probably over rated in the top 15. I see him as a smaller but more dynamic version of Torrey Smith.

    The reason I don't see the Rams taking him is that he's a slightly better version of Chris Givens. To play Austin means you bench Givens and I don't see the Rams wanting to do that. Givens is already slotted as a starting WR for this team in my opinion.
    Agreed with mostly everything you said until that last paragraph.

    To play Austin will have absolutely no bearing on Givens playing time.

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