There are plenty of reasons to believe that rookie Tavon Austin is going to do some special things for the St. Louis Rams over the course of his career. The team didn’t trade up to get him in the top 10 picks of the 2013 NFL Draft because they believed otherwise, and the latest comments from cornerback Janoris Jenkins only further solidify that sentiment.
At “The Opening” on Monday, Jenkins spoke to Andrew Siciliano of the NFL Network. Regarding Austin, he said:
“He’s pretty fast, he’s a dynamic receiver. Great speed, great hands, great quickness. I think he can be very special. He’s just got to work, stay focused and, like I said, just put himself around positive people. But as far as talent-wise he has it all.”
It’s very fitting that a guy like Jenkins would offer this critique because these are some of the same things people were saying about him coming into the league a year ago. His off-field history had been well-documented, and several teams had even removed him from their draft board. While Austin wasn’t considered nearly that level of character risk, concerns have emerged about his upbringing in the inner-city of Baltimore and how several people from his past have already contacted him for money.
The Rams smartly held off on forking over large amounts of cash to their entire rookie class before they had them all attend a financial planning seminar of sorts. This tactic forced all of the rookies to be placed on a level playing field with everyone getting paid at the same time. Although Austin obviously made more than anyone else once the cash finally came, hopefully he got the message that no one is safe from the pitfalls of mismanaging their finances.
By keeping his focus on the field rather than on matters away from football, the Rams will have a better, more productive player when training camp and the regular season rolls around. Jenkins clearly sees some serious potential in the young man out of West Virginia, and that suggests big things are on the horizon for the rookie.
Plus, the more Jenkins pumps Austin up away from the field, the more excuses he will have when he is getting beaten on a regular basis on the practice field by a rookie.