Tavon Austin was one of the highlight players of the Combine weekend at the receiver position. Austin projects as a first to second round prospect, but coming out of his 4.34 forty yard dash, the talk was that he would not be available by the second round. Marshall Faulk said he was a combination of Percy Harvin and Wes Welker. Austin did everything at West Virginia, used on jet sweep runs to short screens to more traditional pass routes.
Austin will be compared skill-wise to Minnesota’s Percy Harvin, and that’s not a bad comparison in how explosive he can be in making big plays, and being used in a variety of roles. However, Austin is smaller than Harvin (who went 22nd overall) was at the draft combine, by 17 pounds. As teams set their draft board, they will need to weigh just how high to go on a player with Austin’s unique skill set.
Here’s a list of the other receivers who were drafted in the first two rounds as a small fast guy (185 pounds or less, sub-4.45):
Santana Moss is the only player since 1999 taken in the first 25 picks who falls in this group, and Moss proved to be a pretty good pick at that range. The list may not look impressive, but if we compare to the two closest receivers drafted in the same draft class, these small, quick guys averaged 2,938 receiving yards for their career, while the comps averaged 1,921 yards. Even removing Santana Moss, they average out as just as productive as their bigger peers. Austin will rate higher than almost everyone on that board going into the draft. The question is whether anyone will jump on him in the top twenty.
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[photo via USA Today Sports Images]