A super rough start may have doomed the St. Louis Rams in their Sunday afternoon matchup with the Atlanta Falcons, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t still positives to take away from the game. It seems the decision to move up in the 2013 NFL Draft to snag playmaker Tavon Austin is starting to pay off in a big way, and that could certainly be an encouraging sign of things to come for this Rams squad.
There were plenty of worries about the 5-foot-8 174-pound jitterbug coming out of the preseason. The Rams didn’t really involve him much and some wondered aloud if he would really play a big role in the offense. While he did haul in six catches for 41 yards Week 1, none of those grabs really made a game-changing impact and his elite open field quickness was never put on display. Although that may still be the case following Week 2, at least the Rams have some points to show for Austin’s efforts.
Austin may not have done much running after the catch on his pair of scores Sunday, but his tough catches and terrific footwork show that he is more than just a dynamic open field player for Sam Bradford and the Rams’ offense. His first touchdown catch was a shoestring grab that he picked up from the Georgia Dome turf and into his grasp, and the second score came courtesy of some tremendous footwork inside of the pylon with a toe tap. It may have just been another six-catch day for 47 yards on Sunday, but his two trips to the end zone spell big things to come for this youngster.
The truth is that the Rams are just scratching the surface on how to maximize the potential of Austin and his playmaking abilities. With the running game showing some signs of life this past week, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Rams line up with a two-back set and have Austin along with Daryl Richardson in the backfield to truly test opposing defenses. Any way the Rams can get the ball into the hands of this dynamic rookie is a good way.
For fantasy football owners, Austin may be a sleeper worth keeping an eye on. If you bought in low definitely hang onto him, but if you still want to little guy on your side, now might be the time to get him before he explodes. Look for the Rams to only increase Austin’s workload from here on out after his solid showing in Week 2.