With the 8th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft the St. Louis Rams select Tavon Austin, wide receiver from West Virginia.
As soon as those words were spoken, I felt like it was a death sentence for Austin.
When the Bills dealt this pick to the Rams, it was a clear call that they were going to draft Austin.
I almost feel bad for the guy and there are three major reasons that Austin will be a bust in St. Louis.
No. 3. He is too small:
At only 5’7” and around 175 pounds, Austin cannot compete at the NFL level.
Austin will be going up against three of the best defenses in the league for six games every season. While he is very quick, it will be tough to find the space needed when being defended by defensive backs five to eight inches taller than he is.
Maybe Austin ends up overcoming this in a Steve Smith-esque way, but that would require him to bulk up a little bit and not be afraid to take some hard hits laying out for balls. I just don’t see that happening.
No. 2. Sam Bradford is very far from a top-tier quarterback:
In his three years in the league, Sam Bradford has never thrown for more than 21 touchdowns. Over that time-frame he has averaged 15 scores and 15 turnovers each season including a dismal 2011 when he had 7 scores and 13 turnovers.
Bradford clearly has a lock on the starting role and he can definitely continue his development. But Austin is not going to be getting quick strikes or perfectly placed deep balls from a guy like Sam Bradford. Of course, things would have been worse had he fallen one more pick to the Sanchez-led Jets.
No. 1. The Rams have no other talent to take pressure off of Austin:
Easily the biggest reason that Austin will be a bust in St. Louis is that the Rams have no other talent to take any pressure off of the rookie. They lost multiple wide receivers in free agency as well as their workhorse of a running back, Steven Jackson.
When Austin is set to line up with the likes of Chris Givens and Brian Quick, you can expect a number of long days with double coverage coming his way regularly.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Austin had a couple of breakout games while teams figure out what he can actually do in the NFL. After a while though, he will either see double teams, or defenses will quickly realize that any 6’3" corner can cover this small-framed wide receiver one-on-one all day long.