Tavon Austin's Combine Performance and College Career Proves He's The Real Deal

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIFebruary 26, 2013

Feb 24, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin warms up before running the 40 yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Critics can talk about Tavon Austin's size—or the lack thereof—but the 5'8", 174-pound receiver has proven he's a top-notch player on every platform.

This week at the NFL Combine, Austin posted the second-fastest 40-yard dash time at 4.34 seconds, and he also ran a blazing 4.01 in the 20-yard shuttle, per NFL.com.

Austin also caught the ball well during drills.

All this performance did was validated what we saw from Austin at West Virginia. Is he a 6'3", 225-pound monster that will be a red-zone nightmare?

Not at all, but he has displayed the quickness, speed and the ability to get in and out of his breaks. For any receiver—especially one with great potential to play the slot—those are notable skills.

As a Mountaineer, Austin had an exceptional career. Check out some of his highlights:

As a senior he caught 111 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. But that just speaks to his ability as a receiver. Austin has also proven to be dangerous out of the backfield.

Much like the Minnesota Vikings' Percy Harvin and the Green Bay Packers' Randall Cobb, Austin could be an effective ball carrier in spots.

In 2012, he carried the ball 73 times for 652 yards and three touchdowns. At only 174 pounds, I wouldn't expect him to log a ton of carries.

Yet with his speed and elusiveness, he would be a weapon on plays from scrimmage. That's not even the end of his playmaking ability.

Austin may also be the most dangerous return man in the draft. It's scary to think what he could mean to a team like the Seattle Seahawks.

Not only could he be a great weapon out of the slot and backfield, but imagine what Russell Wilson and the offense could do with Austin giving them great field position.

In 2012, Austin returned both a punt and kickoff for scores.

It would be a crime if he slipped out of the first round, but if he lands in the right situation, he could be one of the most impactful rookies in the 2013 season.


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