In the NFL today, the more games that you watch seem to be more uptempo and fast paced. Well that it how I see it anyway. Watching games today is much more “exciting” and “faster” than say 5 years ago. Does that mean games today are better? Absolutely not! What I mean by this is that it seems to be a new dimension of football today. That dimension is speed. The option seems to be the latest fad to take the NFL by storm. Before this was the “wildcat( or in the Jets case, the wildcat never left). With guys like Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III leading it, it seems more teams are shying away from the conventional running plays and leaning more to the option and explosive passing plays. As I am sure the late great Al Davis would agree with me when I see that in the NFL today, you can’t have enough speed on your roster. When talking about speed, it is hard to not bring up former West Virginia Mountaineer Tavon Austin. Let’s take a look at what the speedster brings to the table. Take a look at some highlights:
When watching some tape on Austins game, a few things really jump out to me. What I notice right away is his ability to kick it into another gear. In the open field, this makes him almost impossible to bring down. Austin also possess an incredible move set that makes defenders miss, his quickness is one thing, but his juke and ability to change direction with relative ease is what makes him so effective. Austin has very good hands and is very dangerous in the slot. Coming off the line of scrimmage, Austin needs to learn to run more solid and crisp routes, but his separation ability is certainly there already. Once he gets accustomed to the NFL, I think coaches will focus more on Austin’s technique more than anything else. If Austin learns to run crisp and clean routes instead of just simply relying on his speed to get open, defenses may be in for a long day when he is up against them. Austin sometimes has a knack of catching the ball against his body instead of out in front of him with his hands. This is more common when he is catching a pass out of the backfield. Austin has never dealt with any serious injury and was looked at as a leader at WVU, so there are no character issues to worry about with Austin. He does not have any major flaws in his game, just some minor flaws that can be fixed in time.
At West Virginia, Tavon Austin did a little bit of everything. He was used in the running game,was the teams number one receiver opposite Stedman Bailey, and was also responsible for returning both punts and kickoffs. How about that for versatility ? Before the NFL combine this past week in Indianapolis, it seemed that Austin would be a possible late first round pick, but more likely an early second round selection. . But after his performance, Austin pretty much is a shoe in to go in the first round. Austin ran a incredible 4.34 40 yard dash which really showed off his blazing speed to coaches and General managers around the league. In a sense, Austin reminds me of a mix between Percy Harvin and Wes Welker, which for a rookie it is pretty good to be compared to those two proven NFL receivers. I truly believe that whatever team Austin lands on will have an immediate upgrade offensively. But does Austin fir for the Jets? You better believe he does. He would be a great fit in Marty Mornhinweg West Coast Offense. Unfortunately, it is hard to imagine the New York Jets taking him at number 9. there are just to many other holes on the team that need to be filled. If somehow he slips into the second round, John Idzik should hand in the card to Roger Goddell immediately selecting him with the 39th pick. Tavon Austin is a very special player whose name we may hear about for the next 10 years. One last thing, please Football Gods, do not make him a New England Patriot.