In order to familiarize fans with some of the top names in the 2013 NFL Draft, Chargers.com will be highlighting a different prospect each weekday leading up to the first day of the draft on April 25th.
We kick off the series with a scouting report of West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin.
Name: Tavon Austin
School: West Virginia
Weight: 174 LBS
Position: Wide Receiver
The NFL has been peppered in recent years by smaller wide receivers making a big impact on game day.
Now, West Virginia’s Tavon Austin looks to join a group including Seattle Seahawks’ Percy Harvin, New England Patriots' Wes Welker and New York Giants’ Victor Cruz of elite receivers small in stature but big on talent.
Simply put, Austin is one of the elite playmakers in this year’s draft. Blessed with tremendous speed, he posted the second best 40-yard dash time at this year’s combine with a blazing 4.34. But while some players are simply workout warriors and are not able to translate that to the field, Austin plays as quick and fast as his metrics indicate.
As a senior, Austin was a key member of the West Virginia Mountaineers’ explosive offense, recording 114 receptions for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns. He had double-digit receptions in his first six games and eight of 13 overall. Austin had an impressive two week span in late September when he notched 13 catches for 179 yards and three touchdowns against Maryland, followed by an even more impressive game vs. Baylor where he had 14 catches for 215 yards and two scores. Overall, he finished his collegiate career with 288 catches for 3,414 yards and 29 touchdowns.
An excellent route-runner, the wide receiver possesses quick feet and is able to cut on a dime, which not only helps him gain separation from defensive backs but makes him very difficult to bring down once the ball is in his hands. Austin is at his most dangerous in the open field when he is able to operate in space to make defenders miss. To boot, Austin is also a weapon on special teams as he is an excellent kickoff and punt returner.
In order to thrive at the next level, however, Austin will need to improve his overall ball skills. It’s not that he has bad hands, in fact he is able to make most catches; it’s just that he can be a tad inconsistent and has been known to drop some very catchable balls.
Overall, Austin is regarded as one of the players with the most big-play ability in this year’s draft class and will be a weapon each and every Sunday in the NFL.
40-yard Dash: 4.34
Bench Press: 14 reps
Vertical Jump: 32.0 inches
Broad Jump: 120 inches
20-Yard Shuffle: 4.01
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed above do not represent the opinions or policies of the San Diego Chargers’ front office staff, coaches or executives.