Tavon Austin's Latest Draft-Day Projections from Top NFL Experts
Thought of as the most talented and dynamic wide receiver of his class, Tavon Austin has risen to the top of big boards everywhere and could find himself as a top 10 pick on Thursday night in the 2013 NFL draft.
A slew of NFL teams would love to own the playmaking abilities that Austin brings to the table, but the NFL draft is all about needs, and a lot of teams will be looking to draft defense in Round 1.
Nonetheless, no one is doubting the talent Austin possesses, including the following three draft experts. Let's take a look at where Mike Mayock, Matt Miller and Mel Kiper Jr. have the electric Tavon Austin playing in 2013.
Mike Mayock: Buffalo Bills
NFL.com's draft expert Mike Mayock sent Tavon Austin to Buffalo in his latest mock draft, citing Stevie Johnson as the lone playmaker at wide receiver for the Bills.
Buffalo's passing offense ranked 25th in the league in 2012 and saw Johnson as the only wideout to catch more than 43 passes and go over the 1,000 yard mark.
Here's Mayock's take:
The more I thought of Austin and the hole the Bills have at receiver -- with nobody but Stevie Johnson -- the more I said, 'They've got to generate some touches for an explosive playmaker,' and that's who Austin is. Forget 173 pounds. It doesn't matter.
I do think Buffalo could be electric with guys like Tavon Austin and C.J. Spiller on offense, but I just don't know who's going to get the ball to them.
Their depth at quarterback as of now consists of Tarvaris Jackson, Tyler Thigpen and Aaron Corp. Even if Buffalo drafts a QB this year, I'm not sure there's anyone talented enough to warrant the Austin selection outside of Geno Smith.
And obviously if Buffalo takes Austin with their first-round pick, they don't have a shot at landing Smith as well.
Matt Miller: Buffalo Bills
Bleacher Report draft guru Matt Miller also likes Austin to Buffalo, but does note that the Bills could go a variety of ways with the No. 8 pick. Here's what Miller had to say regarding Austin to the Bills:
Tavon Austin is this year's most exciting player on offense, hands down. He's a playmaker in space and a dynamic runner any time he has the ball in his hands. There will be concerns about his size and the notion that he's "only" a slot receiver, but it's rare to see a player this fluid and this aggressive.
If the Bills don't go quarterback at No. 8, Austin should be their man.
Miller does bring up a great point in his Austin slide, writing that if Buffalo isn't going to take a quarterback in Round 1, it might as well draft someone who can help whoever does end up being the signal-caller under center.
While I still think Austin is better served in a more dynamic offense, it's hard to argue with Miller's reasoning of Austin starting his career in Buffalo with the Bills.
I could see the speed combination of Austin and Spiller doing some damage to opposing defenses, but the quarterback situation in Buffalo still worries me.
Mel Kiper Jr.: New York Jets
New York definitely needs a playmaker at wide receiver, as no wide receiver amassed more than 1,000 yards or 56 receptions last season.
Let's take a look at what Kiper has to say:
The Jets are dying for what I call a "fear factor" element for their offense. The points they might lose on defense due to the departure of Darrelle Revis could be handed to the offense with the arrival of Austin. This is a player that can work all over the field, is almost impossible to keep covered and will even take handoffs. Think of Randall Cobb coming into the league, but with more polish as a receiver. They need this kind of player.
This pick makes a little more sense to me than Austin going to Buffalo because I think the Jets may use Austin's versatile skills more than the Bills would, including on kick returns and in the rushing game.
Remember, the Jets also own the No. 9 pick in the draft, where they could potentially draft Geno Smith, whom Austin played with at West Virginia and NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal already reported that Austin says Rex Ryan has a plan for him in New York.
Ultimately, I think Austin is better served on a team like the Philadelphia Eagles or St. Louis Rams, but the odds of Austin slipping all the way to No. 16 for St. Louis is unlikely.
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