WR Tavon Austin, Dallas Cowboys
HT: 5-9, WT: 174, Born: 3-15-1991, College: West Virginia, Drafted: Round 1, Pick 8
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Return Projections (see all)
Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]Overall: D Hopkins (118), T West (119), Tavon Austin (120), J Hunter (121), M Ingram (122)
Position: M Evans (111-WR41), D Hopkins (118-WR42), Tavon Austin (120 - WR43), J Hunter (121-WR44), R Randle (123-WR45)
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PPR Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]Overall: M Bennett (112), A Dalton (113), Tavon Austin (114), B Roethlisberger (115), D Hopkins (116)
Position: J Hunter (110-WR42), R Randle (111-WR43), Tavon Austin (114 - WR44), D Hopkins (116-WR45), A Boldin (120-WR46)
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|1||San Francisco 49ers|
|2||at Tennessee Titans|
|3||at St. Louis Rams|
|4||New Orleans Saints|
|6||at Seattle Seahawks|
|7||New York Giants|
|10||at Jacksonville Jaguars|
|12||at New York Giants|
|14||at Chicago Bears|
|15||at Philadelphia Eagles|
|17||at Washington Redskins|
|19||at Green Bay Packers|
2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - Austin didnít get a touch until the 2nd quarter, but then he figured prominently into the gameplan. His first NFL reception was a short gain, and he looked to have a lot of field, but Tyronn Mathieu came flying into the picture and took him down for a short gain. Later on in the drive, however, Bradford threw it deep to Tavon in an attempt to get a long play. Mathieu was the defender on this play as well, and their feet tangled up long before we could see how the play would turn out. Mathieu was called for pass interference which help setup a field goal.
At the end of the first half, Bradford hit Austin streaking out of the backfield after being in motion, he made the catch and got upfield for 9 yards. In the third quarter, Austin came across the middle and Brinkley visibly bumped him off his route. Austin rebounded and caught the pass, but Brinkley and another defender had him blanketed.
At the beginning of the 4th quarter, Austin started in the slot, made a move on Mathieu, cut across the middle and pulled in a pinpoint pass from Bradford for a first down. The matchup with Mathieu will obviously be fun to watch for the next few years. Austin got him for this play and for the pass interference, but Mathieu was physical with him as well.
As defenders devote extra resources to Cook, it will be interesting to see if the Rams are able to get Austin in space. But it was encouraging to see him already developing as a steady part of the passing game in his first NFL start.
Week 2 - The Rams continue to try and get Tavon Austin the ball. He lined up in the backfield and had one very nice run, making a quick cut and then darting forward for 7 yards. Austin also got behind a defender in the 2nd quarter as Bradford tried to hit him deep. However the ball just didnít have enough air under it, and Tavon isnít going to outjump many cornerbacks.
Austin was having a quiet game as the game progressed late into the 3rd quarter. But then when the Rams began moving the ball on the underneath routes, Austin heated up, gaining 5 receptions in the final quarter and a half. However, as we mentioned previously, the Falcons were giving up the middle of the field, so itís hard to put too much stock into this situation, unless you feel the Rams will be down big all season long.
As is typical of a rookie, Austin struggled to hold onto the ball. At the end of the first half, Bradford floated a pass over the defender to a wide open Austin at the first down marker, and he dropped it. On the first drive of the second half, a miscommunication between Austin and Bradford led to an incomplete pass. Austin dropped another pass on the 2nd drive, which contributed to another punt. Then on the final drive he dropped another first down pass, although he quickly redeemed himself. These drops and mental errors will be fixed, and are expected from rookies.
But there is much to be excited about. On his first TD, Austin sort of ran half speed to the goalline, then exploded toward the pylon. Bradford rolled out and hit Austin right on the sideline and his quick cut allowed him to get open. Later in the fourth quarter, Austin ran straight downfield, then exploded across the middle on a slant. The cut was so quick that he was completely wide open when he made the catch. His final TD was just a function of finding the hole in the zone, sitting down in that hole and then catching the perfectly thrown ball from Bradford.
Austin was targeted 12 times and the Rams are making an effort to get him the ball. Of some concern is the fact that Austin still hasnít broken a single long play thus far. While he is shifty and can usually make the first defender miss, he hasnít shown the ability to physically break tackles thus far. Often times, however, this is a result of not understanding the offense 100% and only being able to run a limited number of routes. As Austin grows as a receiver, his YAC should increase.
Week 3 - There are some positives and some negatives to Austinís game right now. On the one hand, he is getting open and getting a lot of receptions. Austin had another 6 receptions on Sunday and is on his way to 90+ receptions at his current pace. He is the one offensive skill position player that didnít get his stats padded by the blowout. The Rams looked to him early and often, getting him the ball on the first four possessions. He also took the handoff on the first play of the game for the Rams, running for a short gain. The Cowboys, however, anticipated Austinís every move and snuffed them all out. When Bradford hit Austin on a designed screen, Claiborne blew it up in devastating fashion. On the next drive, Bradford his Austin for 4 yards and immediately a bevy of Dallas defenders converged. Then on the next drive, Bradford threw it to Austin again, and Austin finally made one player miss, only to find two more Dallas defenders in his face. So the ability for Austin to get open is encouraging, but the inability for him to make any sort of big plays at all is a frustrating conundrum.
Week 4 - There will be heated debate about Austin among the media, fantasy players who are convinced the Rams are mis-using him, and among fans of the Rams. But the bottom line is that at this point Austin just canít make big plays. Granted, heís a rookie and the NFL isnít easy for any rookie wr. But when he lined up in the slot, all it took was just a little physical bump from the defender, and Austin is immediately thrown off his route. Bradford tried hitting him on a deep crossing route and overthrew him. Bradford also overthrew him on one deep ball in the second half. But you have to wonder, is Austin big enough? Does he present a big enough target on these types of plays? There is not a long list of successful 5í7Ē receivers in the NFL. On the failed deep crossing route, the already small passing lanes become even smaller when your receiver doesnít have the length to stretch out for the pass.
The Rams are struggling to figure out a way to incorporate Austin into the offense. It doesnít help that the team has two coaches that have zero ingenuity. How about a screen pass to Austin? Perhaps they could put him in motion more? Defenses are getting more and more physical with Austin and he appears to be losing the respect of defenses, as he hasnít shown the ability to hurt teams with his elusiveness. Itís hard to call bust on a player after 4 games, but itís hard to watch this team right now and figure out how Austin is going to make a major impact.
Week 5 - Austin killed two drives with drops on quick screen passes. Although the Rams coaching staff has been getting destroyed over their use of Tavon, Tavon has to share some of the blame as well. Part of it is desperation, as Austin is desperate to break out and show he can be the explosive player that they wanted him to be. A small positive is that Austin did finally get a long gain in this game. He took of downfield and sat down about 15 yards deep in the middle of zone coverage. Bradford got him the ball and Austin finally was in open space! He made a couple nice moves, and picked up an extra 10 yards. Austin is going to have to start getting the ball deep downfield if heís going to keep the defenders from sitting on his short routes. Between the tight coverage and his drops, the nightmare rookie season continues for Tavon Austin.
Week 6 - Austinís one reception was a short WR screen pass. He made a nice move and got 3 yards for a first down. But other than that, he was basically invisible. Of some concern to Austin owners is the fact that he just wasnít on the field all that often. The Rams have so many big receivers, and for much of the game, they kept the big guys on the field. Itís obvious that at this point, the Rams have no idea how to incorporate him into the offense.
Week 7 - Austin finally got behind the defense, and Bradford threw a perfect deep ball for a 60+ yard touchdown. However, a tripping penalty on Jake Long negated the big play, which is a shame for the speedy Austin. Bradford also hit Austin on a 24 yard gain across the middle, as Austin ran upfield, cut inside and made a big catch. It was good to see the Rams try to get him the ball downfield. Their hope is that these long throws will cause the defense to respect Austinís speed and open things up in the short passing game.
However, the Panthers were having none of it. Aside from the 24 yard gain, Austin had 4 catches for 15 yards, all of them short and quickly bottled up by the defenders.
Week 8 - Austin seems too small to make an impact, he rarely plays, and when he does, he shows no explosive ability. At this point, it might not be too early to call him a bust. On an early reception, he was drilled for a 3 yard loss, showing that teams are not respecting his deep speed. Later in the game, he did get a big 12 yard reception on a sideline route, but he wasnít drafted to be a possession receiver. His inability to even stay on the field is concerning for fans of the diminutive receiver.
Week 9 - Austin showed his speed on a 6 yard end-around, but also was destroyed by a DB upon initial contact. Austin is very fast, but heís not going to break tackles. His speed is his best attribute, and the Rams donít have the offensive ingenuity or the QB to take advantage. Austin had a chance for a big play in this game, but Clemens couldnít deliver. Backed up on their own 15, Austin completely blew by the DB and Clemens threw an ugly deep ball that had no chance. A halfway decent throw would have given the Rams an 85 yard TD. At some point in his NFL career, Austin could become a play-maker. But with this scheme and QB, it isnít likely to happen this year.
Week 10 - The star of the day was Tavon Austin. On two early punt returns, he showed his speed with long runs. Then he really broke the game open with a 98 yard TD. At first he was waving his blocker away, as the ball bounced in front of him. He was going to let the ball go, but then it bounced right to him, he spun around and then just took off down the right sideline. His speed was very evident, and few in the NFL have comparable speed. Then he finally was able to make a big play on offense, which has been an obvious concern of Austinís fantasy owners, and of the Rams organization. There wasnít much to it. He lined up wide, had single coverage with Vontae Davis, and he just smoked him. He went 57 yards and the defense never had a chance. On his last TD, Austin was again lined up on the left side and he crossed the field with Vontae Davis again in single coverage. He was three or four steps past Davis when Clemens stepped out of the pocket and flipped him the ball a few yards past the line of scrimmage. Austin turned upfield, and just exploded towards the endzone. Austinís ability to get the ball in space is directly proportional to the amount of attention the defense gives to the running game. At the start of the season, Austin was focused on every time he hit the field, and as the season progressed, he had less and less space. He had become so irrelevant to the Rams gameplan, that the Colts decided to focus on the run, and single cover the WRís. Austin made them pay twice, and future opponents will think twice about playing that style of defense on the electric rookie.
Week 12 - Austin continued his explosive play with an explosive 65 yard run on the gameís opening drive. Austin started toward the QB, took the pitch, and then reversed field and weaved his way toward the right sideline. Once he hit the sideline, he turned on the jets and simply raced past all the Bearís defensive backs for the TD. Austin has that speed that at times makes defenders look like they are taking bad angles. But in reality, his speed is like Chris Johnsonís in that he simply outruns the defenders even when it seems as if that isnít going to be possible. The problem with Austin is that when the explosive plays donít happen, he is likely to put a big goose-egg on the scoreboard. After that big run, he only had 2 receptions. Now part of that is due to the fact that the Rams were in running mode. Austin did have a big reception in the second half. Clemens scrambled and was under pressure, and he caught Austin who had crossed the field and smoked his defensive backs. Clemens made a beautiful floating pass over the linebackers and Austin hauled it in for a 32 yard gain. Austinís ability to make an impact against good defenses will be tested over the next few weeks as the Rams take on their NFC West opponents. Seeing him against physical defenses will tell us a lot about his ability to be a week-to-week factor in the gameplan.
Week 13 - After an explosive few weeks, Austin came down to earth, though the Rams tried to get him involved. Austin converted a few first downs on short slant passes. As defenses show themselves concerned with his deep play ability, he finally is getting some space on the underneath routes. Austin also used that speed to get ten yards on a running play, and also faked a run on an end-around and was given the chance to throw the ball, though he just threw it out of bounds. The Rams did make two deep throws to Austin and both were incomplete. The concern with Austin on deep throws is that his size isnít going to allow him to make a play on the ball. If he hasnít blown by his defender, itís almost a wasted throw, and heís just too short to fight for it. Eric Reid dropped an easy INT on one deep throw, and the defender easily shielded Austin from another deep ball with physical coverage. Clemens would be wise to only use Austin as a decoy on deep balls, unless he has blown past his defender.
Week 14 - Austinís day consisted of a 9 yard slant early in the game, and an explosive run on an end-around late in the game. Austinís run was a thing of beauty though. He broke about 7 tackles and showed the open field electricity that the Rams were looking for when they drafted him. He hurt his foot at the end of the play, but he seemed ok on the sidelines later on. Austin is so unbelievably electric with the ball in his hands in the open field, and the Rams are still trying to figure out how to fit him in. The coaching staff seems to be doing a better job of getting him in position to make big plays, but at this point, if the long TDís donít happen, he isnít getting enough looks to merit any serious fantasy consideration. At the beginning of the year, they tried forcing him the ball, and that didnít work. Now he seems like more of a big-play guy, but doesnít seem to get heavily involved in the down-to-down offense. This probably is more effective, as his size isnít conducive to taking a ton of hits.