It may seem like a completely overzealous projection to say that a rookie can accumulate these types of numbers, but what better time to accomplish such a feat than as a first-year player?
The time to make an impact in the NFL is before teams can compile a lot of film on you and diagnose your strengths and weaknesses as a player. St. Louis Rams rookie do-it-all playmaker Tavon Austin may be considered too small by some, but he clearly has the ability to make guys miss and rarely take a square shot when being tackled which minimizes the amount of punishment he takes.
There are only two players in the history of the league to ever join the illustrious 1,000-1,000 club, and those two guys are Roger Craig back in 1985 and Marshall Faulk in 1999. Amazingly enough, neither player one the league’s MVP award during their record-setting seasons as the late Walter Payton claimed the hardware in 1985 and Faulk’s teammate, Kurt Warner, did so in 1999.
With Danny Amendola’s departure in free agency, it’s clear the Rams are going to need some help in the aerial attack. The same could be said for the ground game with stalwart Steven Jackson changing helmets this offseason as well. A lot of the team’s production in both areas is no longer on the roster so Austin will definitely get his share of opportunities to make things happen this season.
Head coach Jeff Fisher has said that the team plans to use their multidimensional rookie in numerous ways this coming season. During his days at West Virginia, Austin lined up wide, in the slot, and in the backfield on a regular basis. A similar usage would be quite appropriate in St. Louis as the potential is clearly present for him to rewrite the record books in many different ways.
Rams general manager Les Snead didn’t trade up into the top 10 picks of the 2013 NFL Draft to get Austin with the idea of just having him do one thing for the team. Clearly Brian Schottenheimer’s offense with Sam Bradford under center will use the dynamic rookie to their advantage as much as possible this year. The two have already established a good rapport, and that bond will go a long way toward building the early trust required between a quarterback and an all-purpose weapon like Austin.
If Tavon can live up to the expectations set forth for him in St. Louis he could have far more than just a Rookie of the Year award waiting for him at year’s end. It’s quite possible if Austin can reach the illustrious 1,000-1,000 plateau in yards rushing and receiving that league MVP award voters couldn’t ignore the feat in 2013.