Weight: 174 pounds
Mentions at No.16: Brandt, Brooks, Judge, Norris, Rang
Mentions at No. 22: Brinson, Brugler, Kirwan, Miller, Prisco
This one’s too easy.
The St. Louis Rams lost their slot receiver—and No. 1 option in the passing game—in Danny Amendola to the New England Patriots. They added a potentially explosive tight end in Jared Cook from the Tennessee Titans in free agency, but have just three wideouts on the roster that caught a pass in 2012.
Chris Givens, Austin Pettis and Brian Quick combined for 83 catches, 1,115 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
Plenty of wide receivers have been mentioned as guys that St. Louis should go after. West Virigina’s Tavon Austin is the one dude who makes it seem like you know what you’re getting with him.
NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks had this to say about Austin:
The loss of Danny Amendola makes it imperative for the Rams to find an explosive slot receiver with big-play ability. Austin is a beast with the ball in his hands; a penchant for turning short passes into big gains will quickly make him Sam Bradford's top target.
Austin caught over 100 passes in each of his last two seasons as a Mountaineer. He touched the ball 186 times—including 72 carries—on offense as a senior, so injury shouldn’t be a major concern for the 5’8” receiver.
NFL slot guys (most notably, Percy Harvin, Wes Welker and Danny Amendola) have received an awful lot of attention lately for their ability to break games with their after-the-catch talent and ability to move the chains. Austin has both, and everyone knows it.
That’s why he might be gone before the Rams ever have a chance to get him, if they don’t trade up. Austin’s bandwagon is a runaway freight train at this stage of the game, and top 10 teams like the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns need some offensive explosiveness—what Austin provides—in the worst way.
If they don’t snag him in the first 10 picks, he’s still not guaranteed to drop to the Rams: some mid-to-late first-round GM might just be feeling froggy.
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