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Tavon Austin a combine star but not a fit at No. 12

Me and some of my followers on twitter [Yeah, terrible grammar] got into a bit of a spat Sunday afternoon because I believe NFL teams are best served drafting football players and they apparently are enthralled with the idea of drafting 40-yard dash times.

And so we have a minor disagreement on Tavon Austin, the West Virginia speedster.

Austin is a sprite. He ran a 4.34 official time at the combine Sunday and, I admit, he was a fine playmaker at West Virginia last year.

Austin also came to the combine with his confidence at full throat as he told the media in a press conference "“Pound for pound I am the best all-around player in the NFL Draft."

Well, I don't see the best pound for pound player in the draft as a value as a Top 10 pick, as some fans are suggesting and not even a No. 12 pick where the Dolphins will select in the first round of next April's draft.

Yes, Austin has the stats. (I love guys with the production). Yes, he has the speed. (I love speed). But he's tiny at 5-9 and 178 pounds. (I don't love guys that size at No. 12).

Yes, I would love Austin on my team. Yes, I would take him in the second round.

But in the first? At No. 12?

No thanks.

I don't take guys shorter than some girls I once dated at No. 12. 

Again, I really love Austin as a player but I simply don't see the value in him that high.

Why?

Well, when you measure a player's critical factors one thing you must measure is durability. And I'm not sure a player that smallish who will be asked to go into the teeth of a defense as a slot player will be durable enough to answer the call every Sunday.

And you hence must add that worry to the usual ones about whether he can adjust to your system, and whether he's got the instincts, and can deal with the speed of the game and can handle his business off the field.

Again, that doesn't mean I don't respect Austin's talents. He can be electric on the field. What he did to Oklahoma last year was jaw-dropping.

But there have been other grand talents come into the NFL in small packages and struggle because of their size -- Bob Sanders comes to mind. He was amazing for a couple of years and then the fact he was crashing into men who were bigger and outweighed him by 40 to 100 pounds caught up with him.

You have to find a great balance with talents such as Austin's to make a thoughtful decision on where he should be drafted. Maybe he's going to be a fine player like Darren Sproles. Well, Sproles was drafted in the fourth round.

Maybe he's going to a "matchup nightmare," as NFL Network's Mike Mayock said, playing the slot receiver position. Maybe he's going to be like Wes Welker. Well, Welker went undrafted.

Maybe he'll play forever like another smallish but freakishly fast player -- cornerback Darrell Green -- did for the Washington Redskins years ago. Well, maybe, but Green was drafted at the bottom of the first round, not near the top.

Do you see the point?

If the Dolphins fall in love with Austin I would expect them to show that love after a major trade-down from No. 12. Or maybe with a second round pick.

But even this comes with a warning:

Miami GM Jeff Ireland comes from the general manager school of prototypical players. He was taught by his mentor Bill Parcells to pick prototype players that have the height, weight and look the part of bigtime NFL players. That school of thought leaves little room for dumplings like Austin.

For Ireland to consider Austin in any round would be a departure from what he's been taught.

And even if the Miami GM can loose himself from the bonds of his mentor, in my humble opinion, for Ireland to consider Austin at No. 12 would be a mistake.

 

Comments

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Craig,
I don't want to spend our hard-earned 1ster on a TE. Can't explain why. but just seems like a compromise shoulder shrug pick.

But....IF I had to pick a TE, it wouldn't be Ertz or Eiffert. If money or draft picks were no questions, and I had Reed, Eiifert, and Entz standing in front of me and I was picking a team like on a playground, ...no hesitation I'd pick Reed. Guy has ability that you can't find easily in TEs: He's a gigantic running back, with break away power, speed, hands, and a good motor. Blocking is average for a TE. Everytime he touches the ball, he has a shot to do soemthing big. Not sure where he fits in the draft, but I liek the guy a lot.
But just don't want to go TE in the 1st round.

But... I have no good reason not to.

JS, warning you ... have we learned nothing from the J martin affair? It is not enough to simply say, put him in a gym and watch him grow. Working out is not fun .. especially doing it at 6am before team meetings and practices. You hear Warren Sapp at his HOF presentation?? Waking up every morning at 4am.... it's got to be in you. In college, you can run by guys but in the NFL, they will run at you and make you pay for every one of your weaknesses. He won't be able to get by in the NFL unless he really finds himself and that's not the guy I want at 12. Not even in the 2nd round.

Craig,
Mingo is one of those Jason Taylor types. Doesn't fit where's he supposed to be, but might just work out anyway.
I go back and forth on him.
Playmaker- YEs
Consistent - NO
Plays a particular position- NO
Can cause lots of havoc, and create problems for offenses - YES

Just don't see him as a 1ster. But he is intriguing.
Really hard call. Rather have a more suitable DE, or OLB than a tweener, but I can't honestly say he'd be a bad idea. Just plain don't know.

Texas, with Damontre Moore's disgrace, yeah, I can see a team replacing him with Jordan. Jones' stock ahs also been solidified by this pathetic display.

JS,

I gt what you're saying. But if Reed's all that I don't understand why he doesn't have first round grade. It can't be because of his blocking.

By the way, I'm not advocating we take TE at 12. It would be in a tradeback but preferrably in the 2nd round.

Incidentally, and I know it's been said on here already, Swope looks like a natural for this team. Familiarity with Tannehill, good speed and good hands. Is he a replacement for Hartline or a complement? My guess is, this is a guy Ireland badly wants. But how high do we take him? Do we take him in the second or hope he falls to the third?

Craig - Jordan just did the combine while needing shoulder surgery. He played part of the season with that injury. He's scheduled to have surgery later this week and will have a 3 month or so recovery. Teams will love that about him. They will also love the flexibility of what he can do on defense. I can't remember anyone over 6'5" that has covered WR's.

We, are very sensitive to dribble...

JS,

I don't see Mingo in the JT mode at all. To me this is a guy who just didn't bring it on a consistent basis. JT did, at least as a pro. Now JT was a 3rd pick. If we want to have a conversation about Mingo in the third round, then OK....but not as a top 15 pick. I'm not in on this one.

Reed weighs 233lbs - that for sure is one reason he falls. He's not an every down TE or maybe not even an in-line TE. But he's one of the guys I like too. Personally, for this team, there's a whole lot more value picking Reed in the 3rd than trading up or down or whatever for Ertz or Eifert.

Mark....

your post @ 12:43 is the best post by far...imo....

its either in you or it's not....and it sure as heck ain't fun....

I hit the gym most days by 5 am....and nobody makes me do it...its just in me...when I retire (early) from my current job....I want to open a gym....

I was thinking it would be a tradition Iron and sweat gym....but after doing his cross-fit for the past 6 weeks or so...I got a new passion...and my body has changed in ways I didn't think were still possible...

I run in the morings...but cross-fit has taken my cardio and endurance thru the roof...

any way...GREAT POST...imo...

DD,

Jon Franklin? Don't Know Him. I'm Saying From The RB's That I Know In College Football! Better Said, Have Seen In College Football!

M.Ball, S.Taylor, G.Bernard, M.James, The Kid From Ark! Lacy, Lattimore!!

Ball and S.Taylor Did Not Impress Me! I Know They're Good Football Players! But Both Had Horrible Combines!! Did These Two Train?

Pass Protection Can Be Taught! Running The Ball! Is More Important!! A Running Back Needs To Be Able To Run!

This Draft Has At Least 4 Legit RB's! The Fins Can Draft A RB With A 4th Round Pick!

You will live 100 years, Kris. Congratulations.

Mark,
Hey man, all i can tell you is what I see, and what I saw with Moore is a natural DE who destroyed guys in college. Literally made them look like they were standing still. He has mutiple ways to getting past tackles, and yes, even bullrushing was one. Maybe he just has excellent leverage, but he pushed tackles into the backfield as well with his less than great arm strength. Not sure what it is he has, but he has something.
And in my opinion it's for real. All I can say.

*******
Craig,
Reed is all that IMHO, but not in his stats. He wasn't option #1 or 2 in his offense, and doesn't have the overall #s (And niether was Hernandez who came from the same school, with similar abilities and #s, but he sure made us look stupid when we played him).
But when Reed did touch the ball, he made things happen. Just like him, that's all. Watched every game.

And I'm simply not a Swope fan. Before his 40 I had hm 7th round on my own list. He's Hartline, with a touch more speed. Watch him play, and then tell me you were impressed with his hands, or his separation, or his ability to create his own space. If you're taking a WR round 1-2 he better be able to create his own space. Hartline can't, Swope can't. He's a 3 receiver in my book.

Just my opinion.

Kris,

Good for you, man. I stay active too but don't have NEARLY the drive you do. I'm there 3-4 times a week but never at 5am and I've done cross fit type stuff before. God for you for sticking with it. It gets harder as you get older (I forget how old you are again). My goals have changed and it's more about staying healthy for me and having more energy than have washboard abs. It's just less important for me, as I get older.

But hats off to you...

There are many different ways to cardio-train. I prefer the J&B route.

Thanks Kris, I like you make sacrifices to be in the gym before I hit the office. This morning I was on the treadmill at 5:30 and I swear it hurt bad. And I, like you do it because I "NEED" to, it's like oxygen, water, I need to move to feel good about myself.

Now that being said, when I make the sacrifices for no other reason than to feel good about myself, how does this clown show up with millions on the line and lift like a female place kicker? He knew this day was coming for certain for at least five years. I don't know this kid but I write him right off.

Great to hear you are having great results with cross-fit and you may be talking me into it ...

Just because a WR is fast and white is no reason to get excited. Can he compete here?

JS,

I like Swope but not until the third, IMO. If teams want to fall in love with him because of his speed, then good luck to them. I wasn't suggesting first round or being a number one receiver. I think he's be a good number three. I was thinking as a replacement for Hartline, if the team were to move on from him.

Texas,

We'll disagree about Jordan. Understand, I'm a big fan but I don't believe he's an immediate impact guy. Teams in the top ten will be looking for that impact guy, and he's not there yet. BIG difference between College and the Pros. It's going to take him a bit to get it. He may go top ten but I think it's debatable. I think teams will be cautious about the shoulder injury. He was green to start with. Great athletic talent but borderline top ten IMO. That's why I'd love for this team to get him at 12. Not because he helps us a lot next but because he's a great talent. He's the star at the position, IMO.

Craig,
No worries, Ireland isn't returning my calls, and I won't advocate Mingo at #12 either.
Really not sure where to pick him
But I like his possibilites. But I like a lot of other guys in that position better.

Honestly I'm hoping he's a OLB.
But at DE, I like numerous people better:
Moore, Werner, Montgomery, Hunt, Okafor for starters, maybe Jordan.

If Moore or Werner is at 12 - grab and run.
The rest on my list are questionable for round 1.

A bunch of guys will have question marks because of health reasons:

Lotulelei
Jones
Milliner
Jordan

Now we have Moore struggling in the bench press and questions about Werner. Does it cause teams to pass and pick someone else? Do one or more of these guys drop to us? Could be.

Ireland past up little TY Hilton last year, and Ill bet if he had it to do over again, he wouldn't have....

JS,

Okafor's an interesting guy. I think someone is going to get a really good player, later in the first. He'd be another great guy to get in a tradeback. I like this guy a lot. And what about the guy from Ghana? When does he get picked? Too risky? Great upside.

Funny thing, all those with injury concerns are potential Stars. Makes you wonder, does it?

Oscar, Agreed! CP Didn't Look Good In The Wr Drills! But You Can't Teach Size and Speed!!

The Best Wr In The Draft! R.Woods! If You Saw Him On Any Of The Drills You Can See The Great Agility! And Hands!!

Swope Is A Body Catcher!! He Doesn't Even Catch With His Hands!! Don't Expect Him To Stretch And Get It!! Hartline With Alligator Arms!!

I'm Telling You The Best Wr In The Draft! R.Woods! He Will Be The Perfect #2! The Guy Is Basically A 22 Year Old R.Wayne! Can Run All The Routes!! Is A Smart Football Player!! Who Ran A WCO In College!!

Craig - agree that we disagree. We'll see come April. I say he's gone at 5 to Detroit.

I understand the difference between college and pros. I always watch a player with that difference in mind. I try to see what they can bring to the table in the pros more than what they do in college. I am not a big stats guy but do check them.

For Jordan I would play him in space and rush the passer but I'd mix it up quite a bit. I would even play him in the middle in passing downs just to throw in some wrinkles. I can see Jordan playing all over the field. He can rush from the middle just as easy as from the end and play coverage.

When you think about the DT's Detroit has and that hey'll lose Avril, that is an ideal trade off for Detroit.

Austin is a beast! He hasn't missed a game in eight years. Watch the Oklahoma game. He won't be there in the second round and this is the guy that everybody will regret not taking. I know it it'll be hard to take him over Patterson or Allen, but I would. He's a match up nightmare!He's a cross between D. Jackson and P. Harvin. He's deep threat that can also play in the slot.

Robert Woods is a contender.

Listen, most of these potential Stars in the Draft have already decided which Teams they want to play for. They will either, be absent from the Combine, or be out of shape and/or perform indequately in It. IMO

Cain't draft them all, can we?

Oscar,
Woods is a nice wideout on the edge, but doesn't fare well against anybody physical. He absolutely disappeared in big games against stout defenses, and isn't able to break tackles. He runs around folks well, and tries hard, but just isn't a physical receiver, IMHO enough for the NFL to be a #1 or #2 receiver.
Good speed threat to have as a #3, and does have good hands. But mid-round guy IMO.
There's other guys I'd rather have even mid-rounds though.

*************
Craig,
I like Okafor a lot, but he gets his butt kicked quite a lot by being sloppy. If he gets a good line coach who can cure his bad habits, he certainly has the skills. But as is, he's not a 1st rounder, IMO.
2nd, Yes. And coach 'em up.

Margus Hunt was a favorite for me at DE before the combine. The knock on him was his speed, and experience versus top level talent (he plays against mediocre teams).
But he just ran a blazing 4.6. For a 6'8" 277 DE, I'm impressed a bit more with him.

Questionmarks against the top level talent remain, but damn he looks good otherwise.

BTW, for those who think that becnh reps mean a lot for a DE, Hunt did 38 reps (compared to Damontre Moore's 12), and was a top performer in that catagory.

Watch him play and he pretty much had two moves: Push past you, or push into you, and it worked pretty well. The guy just plain pushed his way into the backfield. Sometimes making a OTackle look comical or weak.
Granted these weren't usually NFL caliber tackles, but... he did look darned good when he played. Frighteningly so.

Im thinking #12 will be an O lineman. Dont expect the fins to go out on too many limbs. This is still an ultra conservative organization

I think it's pretty clear that a few of you have never watched any film/highlights on Tavon Austin, or looked at his stats...or much of anything. Had you done any amount of research, you would know that Tavon played for West Virginia University.....not VTech.

Also, the quote about him saying he's the best player in the draft is taken out of context. It wasn't an out of the blue statement.....he was asked point blank, "Do you view yourself as the top player available at any position?"

I CANNOT BELIEVE SOME OF MY FIN FANS SAYING THEY WOULD NOT TAKE THIS GUY IF HE IS AVAILABLE AT # 12! WHAT? HAVE WE FORGOT THAT THE PROBLEM IS WE CANNOT SCORE POINTS! I DON'T CARE IF WE DO GET WALLACE SIGN HARTLINE AND AUSTIN.
FORGET SIZE! SIZE? THE MOST PRODUCTIVE WR IN THE NFL THE LAST 5 YEARS IS WES WELKER WHO IS NOT BIG. WHAT ABOUT DUPER,CLAYTON,CEFALO,MOORE? ALL GREAT WR WHO PLAYED FOR WHO? THE DOLPHINS!! HOW DO WE KNOW HE WILL BE AVAILABLE IN THE 2ND ROUND? IF BELICHECK GETS HIM EVERYONE WILL THEN ALL OF SUDDEN WILL FEEL AS IF HE IS GREAT PLAYER!! HELL HE IS ALREADY GOOD. LOOK AT THIS WR CORP(WALLACE,HARTLINE,BESS,AUSTIN,BUSH) C'MON MAN HOW DO YOU DEFEND THAT 4 QTS? THAT'S A GROUP THAT IN 4TH QT IN MIAMI' HEAT AND YOU NEED 7PTS TO WIN OR 7 PTS TO PUT AWAY IT IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO STOP! AS FAR AS THE POUNDING GOES? BULL HE DOESN'T GET THE BALL EVERY PLAY AND SO WHAT HE WILL BE PAID MILLIONS! IF YOU WANT TO WIN THIS YEAR,IF YOU WANT THE FANS BACK,IF YOU WANT A NEW STADIUM TO BE FILLED, THEN GET SOME DAMN PLAY MAKERS WHO CAN PUT POINTS ON THE BOARD. STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHEN YOU SELECT THEM! JUST DAM SELECT THEM . AUSTIN AT # 12? HELL YEAH!

Austin is only a SLIGHT upgrade over D Bess, same skills just a little faster. Not worth a #1 pick for the little bit of difference.

Id love to see the fins get Tavon austin. I wanted them to draft DeShawn Jackson and this kid reminds me of him. Davone Bess on steroids...he is electric with the ball in his hands. If they could get him enough touches ,he could be Reggie Bush's replacement all over the field.Dont be so caught up with the #12 thing. Get him where and when you can. His college teammate,Bailey will play a while in the laegue too btw.

Swope is fast but he's not a Quick guy. Alot like Hartline. Also youve got to remember he had at least a couple of concussiond at A+M too. maybe he's a value in rd 4.I like Denard Robinson. He will be like a Josh Cribbs guy.all purpose player they could probably get late in the draft. Miami needs guys that can take a 7 yd. pass and go 93.

Steve Smith (Carolina) is 5'9" and 185 lbs. He's been a pretty good WR his career.

Look, I'm a Mountaineer and I'm a Dolfan. I would love Tavon Austin in South Beach. And I understand the reservations about taking him at 12. Can he have the same kind of success in the pros has he has had in college? It's a gamble, but isn't every pick?

This offseason should be focused on acquiring play makers and game changers. If a player isn't about scoring touchdowns, getting sacks, or making interceptions, then we shouldn't really bother.

Austin may be a reach at 12, but I ask you...is there anyone else that will be available at 12 that you think will be a guarantee? Anyone that has his ability to score at will?

Hate to insult you but its that egregious: you're an idiot. I liken this reasonable to passing on Randy Moss for things besides past production and capability. Its moronic and passing on an obvious talent with tangible past production is the same as passing on Moss because of hearsay and assumptions. You draft talent at #12. Its hard to deny Austin lacks it.

I bet the Patriots are going to leapfrog and take TAven Austin. I would grab him at #12 immediately.

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