Tavon Austin, Cordarrelle Patterson Ready to Lock Horns in Offensive ROY Race

By Jim Heath
Tavon Austin St. Louis Rams
Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 NFL Draft has not been a class known for significant offensive flash. In fact, in the first round this year, only five position players were selected versus 11 in 2012. With that in mind, it’s not easy to get fired up about the 2013 Offensive Rookie of the year race.

A season ago, the rookie firepower was nothing short of phenomenal. Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III, Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck and Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson seemed to be competing for the ROY award each week through the media, in almost similar fashion to the old school McDonald’s commercial pitting Michael Jordan against Larry Bird for a Big Mac and fries – across the freeway, over the river, off the wall, “nothing but net.”

Also in the mix were Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin and Redskins RB Alfred Morris. So there was certainly no lack of talent in the ROY race.

In all honesty, it’s a crapshoot trying to identify this year’s preseason favorite for offensive rookie of the year. There are a few players in what seem to be great situations, but how will coaches use them? How many touches are expected? Will they silence the questions following them in to the NFL?

This year’s race won’t have the flare of 2012; let me make that perfectly clear now. However, there is an intriguing competition brewing.

The St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings lacked consistent threats at WR a season ago. To rectify the situation, the Rams took West Virginia’s Tavon Austin and the Vikings traded back in to the first round for Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson.

Austin came with the red flag of size and Patterson’s red flag was inconsistent hands, placing each on many experts radar for bust candidates in 2013.

On the contrary, these two talented WRs should be in a back-and-forth battle for the ROY award. Both players’ situations are ideal for countless opportunities. Austin will quickly develop in to Sam Bradford’s slot go-to guy, and Patterson will be Christian Ponder’s deep threat option.

Almost every wide receiver taken early in NFL Drafts throughout time have had a “bust” red flag attached to their name. That is nothing new. Don’t read too much into the bust reports of Austin and Patterson.

What you can read in to is the fact that the Rams and Vikings had dismal passing games a season ago. They need their go-to guys, and their money is on their respective first-rounder picks. Both WRs will get their opportunities for targets, and both should be pivotal in their team’s return games.

With the anticipated plethora of touches, these two WRs should see in their team’s offenses the stage for the 2013 Rookie of the Year race is set. Game on.

Jim Heath is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jim_heath, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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