Draft Scout Snapshot: A closer look at the Rams' picks: Round 1/8 - Tavon Austin, WR/KR, 5-9, 174, West Virginia...The Rams gave up a second-round pick to move up eight spots and take arguably the best playmaker in the draft. Austin will play in the spot, lineup at running, return kicks, and who knows what else. QUOTE TO NOTE: "That's something I can't change. I just laugh at it now. Not really laugh, but I just smile and take it in and put it on my shoulders. I've been small my whole life. It's not going to change. I'm 5-9, but my heart plays like I'm six feet. I try to keep that mindset, keep being smart on the field, knowing when to get down, knowing when not to get down, get the first down. That's really what it boils down to." - WR Tavon Austin on his size. - The Sports Xchange
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04/28/13 - A closer look at the Rams' picks: Round 1/8 - Tavon Austin, WR/KR, 5-9, 174, West Virginia...The Rams gave up a second-round pick to move up eight spots and take arguably the best playmaker in the draft. Austin will play in the spot, lineup at running, return kicks, and who knows what else. QUOTE TO NOTE: "That's something I can't change. I just laugh at it now. Not really laugh, but I just smile and take it in and put it on my shoulders. I've been small my whole life. It's not going to change. I'm 5-9, but my heart plays like I'm six feet. I try to keep that mindset, keep being smart on the field, knowing when to get down, knowing when not to get down, get the first down. That's really what it boils down to." - WR Tavon Austin on his size. - The Sports Xchange
04/28/13 - Rams wheel and deal to acquire playmakers...For the second consecutive year, the Rams ended up being wheelers and dealers in the first round of the draft. In 2012, the Rams first moved from the second overall pick to sixth in a trade with the Washington Redskins that netted them a second-round pick, plus first-round choices this year and in 2014. They entered Thursday with picks at 16 and 22 in the first round and didn't use either one. The fact they had the No. 22 choice from Washington emboldened them to trade up to eighth in the first round with Buffalo to select wide receiver Tavon Austin.
Doing that cost the Rams their second-round pick (46th overall) and seventh-round selection (222nd overall). They also swapped third-round picks with the Bills, moving from 78th overall to 71st. Without a second-round pick, the Rams were hopeful of engineering a deal at 22 to get back some choices. That occurred when the Rams traded down to 30th overall with the Falcons and were able to get third- and sixth-round selections from Atlanta (92nd and 198th overall). At 30, the Rams added linebacker Alec Ogletree.
Said coach Jeff Fisher, "I would have to say that we're very excited, to say the least. It was a scenario that we had been discussing for several days. In this particular draft, (it's a) hard thing to accomplish, I think, the way it fell and what we were able to do. So, we're very, very excited. We got two very explosive, talented young players that are going to help us right away." - The Sports Xchange
04/28/13 - With word building that the Jets at ninth or 13th overall could be interested in Austin, the Rams put in motion the plan to get ahead of New York. General manager Les Snead said, "I think Buffalo did give us a clue early on that they might be willing to come back in the draft to acquire picks. But really for this particular deal, probably sometime Tuesday was the day that, OK you had a good feeling they were going to be in and you could probably get something done."
Fisher said, "We had a feeling that interest was increasing over the last couple of weeks. We did go down (to West Virginia) to work him out. We were just really excited about what we saw down in person. He came in for a (top-) 30 visit and we just felt like he adds something that we just don't have, that's just hard to find in this league. Of course we felt a few days ago that we were probably going to have to go up and get him. I credit Les and (executive vice-president of football operations) Kevin (Demoff) and the guys for creating those opportunities and creating trading partners because we knew we were going to need them." - The Sports Xchange
04/28/13 - In terms of what Ausrtin can do for the Rams' offense, Fisher said, "You look at his college career and what he's accomplished. The fact that he has not missed a game and the explosive plays just week after week after week. It felt like we needed a player that created mismatches and so he helps to create that for our entire offense. "Clearly there's a lot you can do with him. He'll start off as that slot receiver, but it doesn't end there. There's a lot of different things you can do with him. He can stretch the field. The 4.28 (40-yard dash) is real. That itself creates some problems. He's got excellent hands. He's quick out of the break. He understands and likes football. He's going to be really fun to watch."
Including in the return game. Said Fisher, "He's a dual returner. Most of his production was in the area of kickoffs. We assume and have seen him do punts, but again the more often you get the ball in his hands the better off he's going to be."
Austin is 5-81/2 and 174 pounds and being selected in the top half of the first round is unprecedented for a player his size. Since 1988, there have been 44 receivers selected in the top 15 of the draft and only 10 are under 6-0 and none under 5-10. - The Sports Xchange
04/28/13 - Asked about supposedly being too small for the NFL, Austin said, noting that he's never missed a game in high school or college, "That's definitely not going to (ever go away). I just have to keep my heart up, keep my mind right and keep grinding every day in practice. Take care of my body, just keep fighting the critics off like I've been doing since I was young. I can't do anything about it. I would like to change if I could get two inches, but I can't. I'm just going to keep on pushing." - The Sports Xchange
04/25/13 - DANE BRUGLER'S FINAL 2013 DRAFT BOARD: 19. WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia (5-9, 174, 4SR)...Austin will probably be limited to a slot role in the NFL, but he is an exciting space player with video game-like athleticism and rare change-of-direction skills. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
04/25/13 - ROB RANG'S FINAL 2013 NFL DRAFT BIG BOARD: 13. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia: Some questioned if West Virginia's spread offense made Austin look faster than he really was, but in clocking in at 4.34 seconds in the 40 in Indianapolis, he provided numerical proof of his game-breaking ability. Some will peg Austin as strictly a slot receiver at 5-9, 174 pounds. I see him as a matchup nightmare capable of lining up at receiver, running back and returner and pound-for-pound best player in the 2013 draft. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
04/21/13 - 2013 NFL DRAFT: FIVE BOLD PREDICTIONS: 1. Wide receiver Tavon Austin is the first WVU player draft...Austin is the top playmaker in the draft. His height isn't the detriment it could have been in a bygone era. Austin is similar, though not as tall or strong in the upper body, to Percy Harvin. It stands to reason the line for Austin's services will be a healthy queue, and including the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots, among others. The 2012 draft was an education in how general managers and coaches value playmakers over prototypes, a slight sea change evident in picks such as Bruce Irvin to the Seahawks, Shea McClellin to the Bears and Chandler Jones to the Patriots.
Austin can return kicks, punts, line up anywhere in the offensive formation as a receiver or runner and is one part Harvin another Devin Hester. If he's not a top-10 pick, it'd be a surprise. It wouldn't be stunning to see teammate Geno Smith, the top-ranked quarterback in the draft, to slide right out of the top 10. - Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
03/24/13 - 2013 West Virginia Pro Day: West Virginia University had a whopping 28 teams in attendance for the schoolís pro day. The Jacksonville Jaguars brought a large contingent, including new coach Gus Bradley, owner Shahid Khan and Khanís son. The Philadelphia Eagles also had a large group in attendance, but Chip Kelly was absent. Head coach Mike Tomlin and General Manager Kevin Colbert attended for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as did Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix. Cleveland Browns scout Donovan Beidelschies did a very good job of working out the West Virginia lineman. In all, 16 players worked out for pro day, held indoors on FieldTurf on March 14.
Tavon Austin, WR (173 lbs) - Austin wasnít measured and didnít run any timed drills, but he excelled during the positional workouts. Austin displayed great quickness during the wide receiver drills. One of the NFL teams present had a special teams coach work Austin out as a kick returner. - Gil Brandt, NFL.com
03/15/13 - 2013 West Virginia Pro Day: Tavon Austin, another first-round prospect, who stayed late to return punts for the 29 teams in attendance. Austin was almost as popular on Thursday. He has several meetings of his own set up and workouts scheduled with the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers.
At 5-foot-8, 174 pounds, the concern with Austin is durability. He's likely to be pegged for the slot, where durability is a challenge at any size. But he's explosive and fast, drawing comparison for his all-purpose ability to Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin or Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb. - The Sports Xchange