We all know how amusing it is when one of the best returners in the game gets into the open field going one-on-one with a punter or kicker. That gloriously entertaining spectacle took place at minicamp on Tuesday for the St. Louis Rams between second-year punter Johnny Hekker and dazzling do-it-all rookie Tavon Austin.
The rookie started giving Hekker the business on a return with a string of moves that left the punter (one of the more athletic in the nation during his collegiate days by the way) completely frazzled along the sideline. Instead of further embarrassing himself and preparing to get razzed on for the rest of practice, Hekker fell down in a soccer dive type move with a fake hamstring injury.
That narrative was given confirmation on Twitter by the victim himself.
Obviously all of the guys present were doubled over laughing at Hekker’s expense, but veteran cornerback Cortland Finnegan offered this gem saying:
“Come on, that is hilarious. (Austin) is the real deal, man.”
Clearly the story itself is quite funny, but what should be the takeaway from it is that Austin has been as advertised for the Rams thus far. His open field agility will make any punter in the NFL look silly if given the opportunity, and the Rams just have to be excited to see him doing that to guys who aren’t on their roster. Heck, he has his own Youtube video of just his highlights from one game in particular. Granted, that was a 572 all-purpose yards performance against the Oklahoma Sooners, but it’s still an impressive feat for a 22-year-old.
There is a reason why many compare Austin favorably to current Seattle Seahawks do-it-all guy Percy Harvin. The Rams obviously didn’t draft the former West Virginia Moutaineer just to play him on offense. Head Coach Jeff Fisher has already hinted at the multiple uses the Rams could find for Austin in his rookie year.
The memo has officially been sent. NFL teams beware because Tavon Austin is coming to a stadium near you to make your team look ridiculous too at some point this coming season.