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Miami Dolphins: Will Tavon Austin Be Considered at No. 12?

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04:  Tavon Austin #1 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates after he scored an 8-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Richard SantamariaCorrespondent IIMarch 16, 2013

Tavon Austin has been a popular topic of conversation for NFL fans looking forward to the draft.  When the Dolphins had a need for receivers, Miami fans often mentioned Austin.  Well, after signing Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson, the Miami Dolphins no longer have a need at that position.

Does Austin make sense as Miami's first-round selection?

After his showing in the NFL combine, Austin cemented his first-round status.  Todd McShay of ESPN recently predicted that the St. Louis Rams would choose Austin with their first pick (16th overall).

Austin had an unbelievable senior year, catching 114 passes for 1289 yards and rushing the ball 72 times for 649 more yards.  The West Virginia standout scored 17 touchdowns, including one punt return and one kickoff return.  Austin had four scoring plays of longer than 70 yards, as would be expected for a player with his blazing speed (4.34 40-yard dash).

Because of his 5'9", 175-pound frame, the one knock on Austin is whether he can survive in the NFL.  In his favor, Austin never missed a collegiate game due to injury.

Players of similar size and speed in the NFL are Percy Harvin and DeSean Jackson.

If Jeff Ireland chooses to continue his onslaught of offensive acquisitions and drafts Austin, how would he use him? 

If Miami were to use Austin as a slot receiver and punt returner, the ex-Mountaineer would be a huge upgrade over Davone Bess.  Austin's price as the 12th overall pick would be similar to Bess' 2013 salary, assuring the end of Bess' tenure with the Dolphins.

Austin could also be used to replace Reggie Bush and share carries with the stronger Lamar Miller.  In this unlikely scenario, Daniel Thomas would be in danger of losing his roster spot.

Miami currently has a need for an offensive tackle and a cornerback.  The Dolphins would need two corners if they aren't sold on Dimitri Patterson.  They can also improve at defensive end and right guard.  Ireland is addressing these needs as we speak.

When the 2013 NFL draft rolls around, the Dolphins will not have a need for a receiver, but they'll have few flaws and plenty of draft picks.  The Miami Dolphins will have the freedom to draft Tavon Austin, and they would not be reaching if they were to select him.

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