Sports

Commish: Making the Case for Tavon Austin

By: Justin Pawlowski
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(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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After a successful four years at Tampa Catholic, Justin's passion...
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Leading up to Draft day on April 25th, I will be “making the case” for different players to be selected or not selected by the Bucs with the 13th overall selection.

For each player, I will give reasons why the Buccaneers should strongly consider that player and why they should pass on that player as well.

Here. We. Go.

With the 13th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Tavon Austin – Wide Receiver – West Virginia.

The argument for Tavon Austin is that he is being considered the most explosive playmaker in this draft. He is a player that can beat you in multiple ways from multiple positions.  Austin can lineup at receiver, running back, or be a big time threat as a punt or kickoff returner.

While Austin does possess elite straight-line speed, it’s actually his quickness and movement that are his biggest attributes.  That quickness allows him to get in and out of his breaks while running crisp routes and giving him separation against competition.

Austin has also displayed reliable hands while catching the ball away from his body with his hands.  It tends to go unnoticed some times, but by catching the ball with your hands as a receiver, you tend to prevent some easy drops.

For the Bucs, Austin would give the Buccaneers a legitimate threat over the middle.  Last season, opposing teams looked to take away Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams on the outside and left the middle of the field wide open.  Unfortunately for the Bucs, they did not have a legitimate threat to take advantage of this. Yes, the Bucs have signed Kevin Ogletree and Steve Smith to small contracts, but neither has the playmaking and game-changing ability of Austin.

One last case for the Bucs, if anyone does remember back to last year, the Buccaneers did not draft one player from Rutgers.  However, they did draft 2 players from West Virginia, so maybe Greg Schiano knows the players that he has played against and perhaps he’d like more of those players on his side.  In 2010 and 2011 combined against Rutgers while Schiano was still head coach, Tavon Austin totaled 14 catches for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Now, wait a second, are we saying that drafting a luxury player like Tavon Austin is more important than addressing the defense?  Well, that’s the biggest argument against taking a player like Austin.  The Buccaneers have such big needs at cornerback and with the lack of depth on their defensive line that perhaps it might not be time to draft a “luxury” player such as Austin yet.

It should also be mentioned that Austin weighed in at 174 lbs at the combine, and while the NFL has adopted the spread offense, 174 lbs is still a concern for long-term durability.  The NFL has tried to cut down on big hits on defenseless receivers, but the truth is that those hits still happen, and a majority of those hits happen over the middle of the field where Austin would try to make his living. One big hit and he could be out a while.

Austin’s ability has drawn some comparisons to Percy Harvin, but Harvin is over 200 lbs.  Recent comparisons have Austin compared more favorably in size to Dexter McCluster of the Kansas City Chiefs.  While McCluster is a good player, I would need much more out of the 13th pick.

Well, there you have it.  The arguments are there to either draft or to pass on West Virginia WR Tavon Austin.  Which way would you go?  Call The Commish during his show heard weekdays 9-noon and let him know!

For updates on the Buccaneers off-season moves in free agency and the NFL Draft, be sure to follow Justin Pawlowski and 98.7 The Fan on twitter.

Catch The Commish weekdays from 9-12 on 98.7 The Fan.

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