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Answer to the most-asked draft question: No

Without question the player Dolphins fans ask me about the most for the coming draft is West Virginia all-purpose ankle-breaker Tavon Austin.

I suppose the reason Miami fans love this player is because he is a surge of electricity. Here now. Gone now. Lots of speed. Great vision. A one-on-one mismatch in the open field when he has the ball. He promises many dropped jaws in the stands and dropped pants by defenders.

So Miami fans want to know if the Dolphins are likely to pick Austin.

No, I do not see the Dolphins picking Tavon Austin in the coming draft -- certainly not in the first round where everyone seems to think he'll be selected.

This, I write, because I know how the Dolphins judge players. This because I know how the Dolphins value size and weight and the so-called prototype in the draft.

And Tavon Austin is all of 5-8 and 175 pounds which is as far from the NFL prototype as you can get without being in the CFL.

Understand, the Dolphins do make size exceptions. They made one for Pat White who happened to hail from the same West Virginia program as Austin. Um, maybe that's not a good example.

Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland has told me he asks himself this question when he's evaluating a player that is for whatever reason not of prototypical size or weight or speed: "Does he walk on water?"

(The phrase originates from the fact Jesus Christ walked on water on the sea of Galilee. So did Peter for a couple of steps before he got tackled by a blitzing lack of faith).

The point is most people who are not the Son of God cannot walk on water. They simply aren't so incredibly great that the field tilts in their favor when they step on it. They simply aren't so amazing that one can forget that they are too short or light or slow or whatever other failing the player may have.

Most players do not walk on water.

Barry Sanders did.

Thurman Thomas did.

Darrell Green did.

But the list of non-prototypes in my mind isn't much longer. And while looking at Austin on tape suggests he floats very well on water, and perhaps even swims like a fish in the water, he's not walking on the surface. He's not Sanders-Thomas-Green great.

Austin caught 114 passes for 1,289 yards last season. He caught 12 touchdown passes. He was also used out of the backfield and has a career 9.5 yards per carry average. His game against Oklahoma in which he gained 572 total yards was perhaps the greatest individual performance of the season by a collegian.

But ...

His 11.3 yards per reception is not suggesting NFL deep threat. He sometimes double-catches passes, perhaps a result of his smaller hands. That's not a big deal in college because the game is slower. But in the NFL, receivers who juggle and must recatch the football often get drilled between the first catch and the attempted second catch.

I watched Austin cutups and I saw him be very, very friendly with the sideline. He searches out the sideline a lot to avoid contact, which is natural and smart for a player his size but could be an issue for some coaches. 

I also saw a little high stepping a few times. Yeah, Miami coach Joe Philbin would love that. 

Don't get me wrong. Fake GM Salguero would love Tavon Austin on his team. But not at the expense of the No. 12 overall draft pick. Late in the first round? Maybe. In the second round, yes. But in the upper third of the first round, the durability concerns caused by his size, the fact he'll never be an outside receiver because he simply lacks the wingspan to help the quarterback out there, and the good but not great hands give me pause.

By the way, some folks will look at the Austin highlight tape below and believe him to be a faster Wes Welker. Don't be fooled. Wes Welker towers over Austin and outweighs him by at least 15 pounds. Welker is built much more compact and strong. Austin is lean.

That's another thing. One scout I talk to a lot told me he has questions about Austin's affinity for the weight room. The scout loves the kid's spunk and swag and all that. But he did mention the weight room issue.

So, to answer the most asked question I get: I don't believe the Dolphins will be drafting Tavon Austin at No. 12. Not unless he finds a way to walk on water between now and draft day.  

Comments

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Reminds me of a slower Ted Ginn always looking for the sideline...

I totally get that picking the player in the right round is important. But sometimes players like Austin get visibility that leads them to be picked earlier. There are many successful "small" WR's who were PLAYMAKERS for many years in this league. I understand Austin is approx. 175 lbs but I think an NFL program could easily add 10-15 to his frame.

Santanna Moss 5'10" 189lbs 2001 Round 1 #16
Santonio Holmes 5'11" 192lbs 2006 Round 1 #25
Desean Jackson 5'10" 175 lbs 2008 Round 2 #49

Keep telling you people Philbin doesn't appreciate or like cocky football players, guys like Austin&Patterson will never wear or play in Miami under Philbin watch !! The Te from Cincinnati is what Philbin likes, the kid can block and is a very good red zone presence !! Philbin is a genius he has it all figured out, you can get that kid in rd.4 in the draft !!

Austin may not walk on water but he can fly on the football field.

I don't see him for the Dolphins though. We just payed Wallace $60 million to fly past people, we need a big reciever now to get above defenders in the endzone. It doesn't have to be 1st rd though.

I don't think we'll see a TE 1st rd either. It will probably be DE,LT or DT. DT wouln't be sexy but there is alot of talent there and we don't have either of our starting DT's under contract next season.

Of course I'm just a fan, spit balling like everyone else.

In order to be competitive in the NFL today you have to score plenty of points. You simply can not pass on a game changing playmaker like Austin if he is available.

we should def select tavon austin with our 1st round pick. there is nothing wrong with looking for sideline after yards are gobbled up. often times there is nothing left to gain except needless shots/injury.

Dont waste a 1st round on a 5'7 guy. This guy has Ted Ginn written all over him.

Draft needs CB, RT, RB.

Dear Mr. Fake GM Salguero

Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland has told me he asks himself this, Does he walk on water ?

Barry Sanders did, Thurman Thomas did, Darrell Green did.

Well Mr. Fake GM Salguero did you know Until now, both scientists and Theologians alike thought this seemingly Biblical ability was due to a wax secreted on Jesus's legs.

Combined with surface tension, a property of water that makes its boundary behave something like stretched Saran Wrap of all things.

But new research finds that Jesus's legs were covered with microscopic hairs that trap tiny air bubbles, allowing Jesus and Barry Sanders to simply float.

No magic and no miracles its just science.

I'm sorry its been a while since our last correspondence and will try to write to you more often.

Your friend


Soiled :)

Austin played in the big 12 , as everyone knows nobody in that conference had a defense ,He wont look as good or last as long in the NFL.

greg z@6:14am,

Of course you give Philbin the credit. The next compliment you give Ireland will be the first. Interest that Ireland gets the blame but Philbin gets the credit. Good thing we've got you on here to keep it all straight as to who does what. At the end of the day, who gives a f8ck!.....as long as the team gets it straight.

dad, we couldn't disagree more on Austin. It's not that I don't like the kid, it's that I don't like him at 12 and I think we have other pressing needs. I honestly believe if we don't get LT straight a lot of the good work this offseason will be for naught. Most people complained about Long last year. If you project Martin's four games at LT last year he was far worse than Long, and two of those games were against the Bills and Jags, two teams that had given up. If you believe Martin's the real deal at LT then go in a different direction but I don't.

Lastly, the Desean Jackson comparison is a good one. But Jackson was taken 49th in the draft, not 12. I think Austin will be good but is there enough touches there for Wallace, Keller, Bess, Gibson and Hartline to also add Austin. Not sure there is. Keep in mind, we had a guy in Bush that could have done what Austin does. They chose not to use him that way. Why?

I want to see you peoples reaction when Ireland drafts coach Philbin type of guys. It will under the radar guys, who works hard keeps their mouths shut and produces on the field !! So you fools keep on dreaming about guys like Austin and Patterson guys Philbin will never have on his roster !! There is a reason why Bush Long and Dansby are no longer wearing a dolphins uniform !! These are the same 3 guys that went into Philbin's office on Hard Knocks, requested some leadership council and now all 3 are playing elsewhere !! If confront coach Joe you're gone, if you act like a clown you're gone, if you're not humble and grateful for wearing an nfl uniform you're gone. Why because it's Philbin's way or the highway !!

HEY SOILED IS BACK!!!! NICE!!!

Anyway, I have a feeling it will be Austin but can't say I'm blown away by the pick even though it would be a justifiable pick. This guy is similar in size to Desean jackson but doesn't have quite the same athleticism. Risky if you ask me. Guys of similar or better production and athelticism in the 2nd round at his position but if he's the pick then I will back him up!!

I wonder what Miami would do if Geno Smith is still available in 2nd round. Prolyy shouldn't happen, but......

DC,

Our Jays will see you in the World Series this year. Be there or be square....

Wow, Thurman Thomas?

NEW GIRLIE LOGO IS OFFICIAL!!! BOYCOTT EVERY PRODUCT WITH THIS LOGO!!! I AM

My mock

trade down with st louis to 16 for an extra 3rd

1st- ND TE Tyler Eifert

2nd- Miss ST Johnathon Banks

2nd- Oregon OT/OG Kyle Long

3rd- NC OT Brennan Williams

3rd- Auburn DE Corey Lemonier

3rd- Conn CB Dwayne Gratz

Rest BPA

luckily for ireland, philbin has saved jeff's job as fins GM.

Austin played in the Big 12 which had absolutely no defense , He wont look as good or last as long in the NFL. O line and defense is my preference. Marino , Duper , and Clayton showed us you cant win with offense only. The 85 Bears and 2000 Ravens showed you can win with defense only. I like that style but our offense is already better than those teams. I want to physically pound on the Jets , Bills , and Pats.

I have said it over & over that Ziggy Ansah is without a doubt the best prospect in this draft. The guy will be a double digit sack machine every year, including this year. If I am Miami, I am doing anything nessasary to get this guy opposite of Cameron Wake & Tom Brady will never beat Miami again.

I personally believe Austin will be a tremendous player for some team. Once he gets himself into the open field he is going to put points on the board. That said, I don't believe the Dolphins will pick him, if he is even available to be picked. Out of all the receivers out there, K Allen would be my choice.

THANK YOU MANDO!!

Seriously!!

Somebody had to Set some of These Clowns Straight!!

Dashi Is Going To have To Use Ireland's quote Every time A Certain Someone Makes Outrageous claims!! That The Fins Should Go After Such and Such!!

PROTOTYPE!!!!

How Many Times Does Dashi Say This?

Ireland Doesn't Want A 5'10" DE!! Or A 5'7" WR!!

While We At It!! Ireland Doesn't Want a 5'8" CB!! A 5'9" Safety!! Or A 5'11" QB!!

Ireland Wants Guys That LOOK LIKE NFL FOOTBALL PLAYERS!! Not HS Football!!

Hopefully Mando Answered You Clowns!! And Fully Exposed T.Austin As A Fraud!!

Thank You Again Mando. For Breaking Down T.Austin!!

He Doesn't Catch Well!! He Is A Body Catcher!!

He Doesn't Have A Lot Of YAC!!

He Gets 11YPC!!

He Doesn't Really Run Many Routes!!

Etc!! Etc!

Bobby@9:54pm,

Good points. I see it the same way. Only difference is, I believe the 'Phins will wait until the third round to pick a guy like Wheaton.

Dolphin Wr's Average is 6'0" 200lbs!!

Bess who is our shortest and smallest Wr is 5'10" 195lbs!!

Can You Use T.Austin On Running Downs?

Running A Zone-Spread WCO You Need Wr's That Can Run Block A Little!! Helps Break The Long Runs!! And Allows You To Efficiently Run Out of 3-4 Wr Sets!!

Philbin Did Keep Naanee Awhile Because he was The Best Run Blocking Wr!!

Mike Wallace Can Run Block!!

Gibson can Run Block!!

Bess and Hartline Can Run Block!!

Can T.Austin Run Block In The NFL?

T.Austin Is Way To Limited!!

Except Dashi is wrong because we just signed 5:10 Brent Grimes to a 6 million dollar contract.

I'm so glad Jake Long is gone, one of the most over rated, overpaid players on the league. I'm also glad Jeff Fischer is not the coach down here. Miami had one of the worst O-ines last season. Don't believe me, check out profootballfocus.com (statistics don't lie). With that said, Ireland MUST improve the O-line this year. With all they've done so far in free agency, if Tannehill continues to be pressured, this offense will not work! Jonathan Martin so far is a BUST! HE CANNOT BE THE STARTING LEFT TACKLE! He is a project to be groomed at best and that usually, if it works, takes up to 3 years, which they can't afford. PFF.com gave him a -21 ranking. Erik WInston got a ranking of +17. Bring in Winston already to handle the right side, then trade up in the draft/1st round and go after Fischer. He is a beast!

Craig,

I agree with your assesment about needing a LT. Would you trade up for Fisher or L.Johnson? I sure would

THIS IS THE SAME MISTAKE IRELAND AND THE WRITERS/SO CALLED SCOUTS MAKE: MEASURABLES!! who cares about his height/weight??? can the kid play football?? Of course he can!! Has consistently been the best player on the field at EVERY FRIGGIN LEVEL!!! HELLO???? Stop deciding on measurable and watch the kid play FOOTBALL!!! Parcells issues plague Ireland= MEASURABLES!!!! if you have a football eye like I do, trust what you see on tape..... TAVON AUSTIN is pound for pound the best player and is EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED AT THIS POINT.... A FOOTBALL PLAYMAKER to compliment your BIG WR and sideline threat you gave all the money to.... BESS has been a BUST.... upgrade the money spot/SLOT ASAP.... PLEEEEEEAAAASSSSSEEEEE

Lane Johnson?
Damontre Moore?
Barkevious Mingo?
Star Lotuleilei?
Sheldon Richardson?
Desmond Trufant?
Tyler Eifert?
Johnathan Cooper?
Chance Warmack?
Kenny Vaccaro?
Alec Ogletree?
Tavon Austin?
Kevin Minter?
Jesse Williams?
Ezekiel Ansah?
Dion Jordan?

yeah, they all work ...

so confused .....

Rdubs,

Yes I would. The gaping hole left on this team for me is LT. I think they're nuts if the ignore the position and just go with Martin, but that's just my opinion. As I said, without an adequate LT I believe a lot of the good work will be for naught.

Some Of You Want To Live This Wet Dream!! "I Can Be A NFL Player, Because I'm Bigger Than So and So!!"

Neither You Or T.Austin Can Walk On Water!!

So Put On Your K.Dansby Jersey and Sit Back And Watch The Game. You Self-Proclaimed Biggest Fan!! (This Is Not To You CM Punk)

They're Is A Reason The Average Football Player Is Way Bigger Than A Regular Human!! Definitely Way Bigger Than T.Austin!!

You Don't Have To Be An Einstein To Realize E=MC² Even Relates To Football.

The Bigger The Mass, The Bigger The Boom!!

You Don't Want A Fiat 500 In The Demolition Derby That Is Pro Football!!

Todd,

How the Hell can you call Bess a 'bust'? Are you kidding me man? This guy wasn't even drafted and has played a few years in the league. A 'bust'? Hardly. Now if you don't like the guys that's fine but he's done what most undrafted could never do. Play and start in the league.

Forget about Austin and any other dynamic playmaker with the first pick (unfortunately) :(
The next group that MUST be highest priority is the O-line! Jonathan Martin, John Jerry-both are draft busts. Done with, now must be forgotten, and must move on. They need either Erick WInston or some other stud in free agency (if available) to handle the right side. Then a top pick LT in the draft. Forget about moving John Jerry to right tackle, Martin to left tackle-IT WILL NOT WORK!!! The Patriots offense works because, well, #1 they have the best QB in the league-thats the obvious, but they also have studs all way around on their O-line. They do lack weapons and that will be their weakness this year. This is why its so important for Miami to finally upgrade this unit-the O-line!

Is 5'10"

5'8"?

Some Of You Don't Understand.

5'10" Is Small In The NFL!!

5'8" Makes You A Midget!!

5'8" 170, Makes You A Small Midget!!

I dont think Martin is a bust and Jerry is just a fat guy. I mean I am overweight and can eat alot, but have never reached 300 lbs. How does a guy hit 390, when you are working out or running in the heat. I would weigh 180 lbs, if I did that!

Excellent post Mando. Thanks for the explanation of what the Dolphins are thinking.

trufant would be the best pick at 12, he's better than rhodes because of the different schemes he can cover in

Hey Rdubs, maybe you should do that.

Craig, Blue Jays, lol. Are they still a professional team? I haven't seen them since they had Dave Winfield and Paul Moliter. Wow, what's worse, being a fan of the Dolphins and Blue Jays, or the Dolphins and Wizards? Either way, you're into punishing yourself.

Can't Wait Til Every NFL Team OVERLOOKS T.Austin In The Drafts First Round!!

Can't Wait Til The Season Starts!! And T.Austin Goes The Way Of M.Moore!! A Non issue!!

At Least, JPAO put his name behind It. And We All Know 1 of The Trolls Is Infatuated with Him Since Nobody Is Even Mentioning His Teammate S.Bailey!!

Which Some Will Say Is The Better NFL Prospect!! Dashi Agrees.

Dashi Doesn't Want Either!! But Before I Waste A #12 Overall on A Midget!! That Played In A Weak Conference!! I Would Pick S.Bailey!!

Those who are T.Austin Fans Must've Not Seen Or Forgot His Last Game Against Syracuse!!

T.Austin was So Bad!! G.Smith Lost Draft Stock!! And The Syracuse Coach Got Hired By The Bills!!

And I Don't Hear Anybody Raving About A Syracuse CB In The Draft?

DC,

That's funny! What have the Nationals won again? Right! Keep chirping! IUntil they win something, they're nothing.

Reminder: Back to back World Series Champions: '92-93 and '93-94. Last team to do that? Look it up. Might have been the A's back in the '70's.

Just heard on the news that Strasburg is done for the year. Apparently Spring Training was too much for him. He's going to rest for the whole of the regular season to see if he can be ready for the post season.

Hey boycott; what we are sick of is your mindless rants. What makes you an authority?
Go Phins

Lots of people say trade Bess but I think we let him compete for a spot this season. Mixing up the personel on passing downs is not a bad thing. If you have 6 receivers to start the season having Bess there I not a bad thing. If someone blows us away with a trade offer maybe pursue it, I mean multiple picks between 2-4.

Who you calling a Midget.

I'm 5'8 170.

The double catching thing sounds like a real problem with Austin. That could lead to him getting drilled alot and/or turning the ball over alot in the NFL. If anyone watched alot of him this year was this an occasional issue or something he did almost every game?

Dashi, you have some good posts but did Tavon pee in your Cherrios?? C'mon, the man is not going to fall out of the first round. He is going to be a high pick Dashi. You don't have to be prototypical to play in the NFL, if you have skills and a big heart you can be great no matter what your size.

I see a trade down with Rams or Vikes with them coming up to get Austin unless someone unexpectedly drops to 12. There is no CB at 12 and if 3 OTs go before 12 it just makes sense to trade down if possible. Pick Trufant, Eifert, Vaccaro or whoever is BPA. There's not a big difference in players from 10-25 in this draft.

DC,

One other point on the Nationals....

I guess when you finish last year after year it's kind of hard to keep getting it wrong. Sooner or later you run into a Sidney Crosby (as the Pens did) or a Bryce Harper, as the Nats did. I guess you gotta be bad to be lucky.

Wasn't it just yesterday your team was losing 100 games a year?

Darkoak, I think Bess is a draft day trade. Especially if we draft another receiver. I like Bess but for what he does and the routes he runs, he can easily be replaced by a draft day guy who is quicker, younger and cheaper. Just a feeling on my part.

Craig,

The Nats Got Lucky!!

They Picked The Perfect Time To Suck.

B.Harper and SS Are The Best #1 Back To Back Any Team Ever Picked!!

Agreed. Blue Jays Are Better Than The Expos!!

Haha Craig. That was funny on Strasburg. We'll revisit this convo when he's your 2013 Cy Young recipient.

Harper is a beast. Already being compared to the greats. But yeah, slow start. Can't expect a new team to be great out of the gate.

Mark my words though, next few years, you'll be hearing a lot about the Nats. NL Yankees. I'm not just expecting one championship, I'm looking for multiple trophies.

Da'Rick Rogers Has Some Issues But He'll Be A Steal In The 3rd Round , A Dez Bryant Clone , I Think Best Receiver In This Draft , Size ,Speed, Hands And Not Afraid To Go On The Middle Of The Field and Snatch The Football, I Hope Ireland And Company Noticed This Kid .

Dashi, don't hate cause we smacked the Marlins around. Problem with Miami teams, you don't have enough DC Metropolitan area blessing you with our talent. We gave you Cameron Wake (PG County), we gave you Laurinitis (George Mason U). What Miami needs is a little more DC in it.

I'd love to have Austin or Patterson, but you'd be passing up good prospects in O Line and CB to take them. Miami has already spent a lot of money shoreing up the WR position. A WR drafted probably would have a limited role in year 1. You can justify it if you are pretty sure you are getting a Pro Bowl caliber player for the next 10 years. Patterson I think will be a great YAC receiver, but his route running is raw. Take the best player available in round 1 that is not a QB or RB. There is enough depth in runds 2 and 3 to get a WR. I think Swope or J Hunter would be a goood pick if there a little later. I would like to see a WR added in first 2 rounds, but not sure number 12 needs to be a WR in light of all the depth we signed at that spot already. If top O Line and CB prospects are gone and you can't trade back a little, I'd take Patterson. It would be nice to trade back and get Eifert. 12 is too high for him.

DC, I know you're not trashing the two time WOrld Series winning Toronto Blue Jays? Washington nationals?? Looks like the Montreal Expos to me ...

And DC, Strasbourg may win the Cy Young this year in the NL because the best pitcher in the NL last year is this year's Blue Jay opening day starter.

Bobby,

I Could Care Less About T.Austin.

Dashi is Just Stating Facts!!

Why Do You Care So Much About Him?

Again, I Can Name at Least 5 Wr's In This Draft Who I Think Will Be Better Than T.Austin Off The Top Of My Head.

C.Patterson
D.Hopkins
R.Woods
K.Allen
Patton
J.Hunter
T.Williams

And R.Swope are all Better Than T.Austin.

We Have A Bigger Need At RB!! Than We Do At WR Right Now!!

Our Biggest Need Is LT!!

We Even Need Another TE!! Before Even Thinking Of Going After T.Austin!!

I never understood why some in here were hyping him so much. The kid is tiny. Ginn was much bigger and still has the same problems they say this kid will have, at a smaller size. No thank you with a first, maybe with our first second but we have much more pressing needs and do not have room for a question mark at WR. The first three picks should be T, CB, TE.

I hate stupid Ireland quotes...."does he walk on water"....

The next time you pick a NON-PROTOTYPE player and he works "walks on water" will be the FIRST time you have done so a a FINS GM....

I'm trying to be a fan Mr. Ireland....so help me out...

Keep your yap shut...and Mr. Ross's WALLETT open...

Sign Winston....and lets get on with the draft....

Ivan, agreed on Da'Rick Rodgers. He would've been Tenn's #1 WR this year - on a team with Justin Hunter and Cordarelle Patterson. Why not roll the dice on a 3rd round pick with that guy - better than picking another John Jerry ...

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