In 16 days, the Cleveland Browns will attempt to add more talent and depth to their team. With the emergence of rookie star Josh Gordon and strong finish by sophomore Greg Little last season, the Browns could use one more extra piece on the offensive end.
Perhaps one of the best receivers in the draft, Tavon Austin of the West Virginia Mountaineers is that piece.
Austin compares to DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles, but instead of Jackson’s selfish play and “me first” attitude, Austin is a 100 percent team player. While playing for the Mountaineers, Austin played just about everywhere on offense, including lining up in the backfield. He could be the ultimate playmaker for an NFL team.
Some of Austin’s single-game statistics at West Virginia are video game-like. In the 2012 Orange Bowl against the Clemson Tigers, the Maryland native put up 390 all-purpose yards and scored four touchdowns. During a nationally-televised game against the Oklahoma Sooners, Austin racked up 572 all-purpose yards, including 82 yards receiving, 344 yards rushing and 146 yards returning kicks.
The are two things that I saw on film about Austin. One, the 22-year old has crazy acceleration — I’m talking zero to 60 speed like a Corvette. Austin ran a 4.34 forty yard dash at the NFLCombine just weeks ago. The second thing is his versatility. Austin will project as a slot receiver, but also will tribute to special teams and be very deadly. With his speed and quick change of direction, Austin is a game-changer.
What are the knocks on Austin? At 5-foot-8 and 174 pounds, he lacks the proper size to be a No. 1 receiver. Because of his size, Austin’s hands are small and below average. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t catch though, as he just needs to be able to take the hits and hang on to the football.
In some mock drafts, Austin is top-10 rated. I believe he will fall in to the 12th-17th range. The only way I could see the Browns picking Austin is if they trade down. There are a ton of teams interested in intriguing youngster.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer. Please Follow Me on Twitter @ryanpruiz24