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Tavon Austin has the skill set to be a Wes Welker-like player.
The skinny: If the Patriots can't work out a long-term contract with Wes Welker this offseason, they might be looking for wide receiver help via the draft.
1. Justin Hunter, 6'4'', 200 lbs (Tennessee)
Coming off a knee injury after a promising start a season ago, Hunter has burst back into the picture in 2012, totaling 73 receptions for 1,083 yards and nine scores.
The Patriots haven't had a true burner since Randy Moss exploded in 2007, or a wide receiver over six feet tall for that matter. Hunter would add another lethal weapon to an already prolific Patriots offense.
2. Tavon Austin, 5'9'', 174 lbs (West Virginia)
The Patriots destroy defenses with some of the league's best little men (Welker, Julian Edelman, Danny Woodhead). Why not add one more to the mix? Austin has elite speed and terrific hands, but he's likely to slip in the draft given his small stature. He could be Welker's immediate or eventual replacement.
3. Robert Woods, 6'1'', 180 lbs (USC)
Prior to an ankle injury this season, Woods was considered a top wide receiver prospect heading toward the 2013 NFL draft. The 2011 Biletnikoff Award finalist racked up big numbers (111 catches, 1,292 yards, 15 touchdowns) last season though, so I could see Belichick taking a risk.
4. Keenan Allen, 6'3'', 210 lbs (Cal)
Much like Woods, Allen was viewed as one of, if not the best wide receiver in college prior to a recent injury that will sideline him for the rest of the year (per Greg Maddox of SI.com). This kid is oozing with talent, so if he slips, the Patriots could take him.
Most realistic pick: If Welker is gone, Austin is definitely the Patriots' guy. Even if Welker sticks around, it wouldn't be all that surprising if they still grabbed Austin.