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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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"How can a play maker with game changing ability be a luxury? Should that not be a necessity for the first pick? How many chances does a team have to get one of those? Make the pick and take a chance to be great or we can play it safe and possibly be good."

This reads like a repost from the blog titled "we drafted the Ted Ginn family."

Kris, haha, didn't take you long to grind against Ireland again.

But this time I've got to agree with Mando and Ireland. Austin looks like he can be a good player but at that size, his athelticism has to be all world - like usain Bolt type good athletically - which he is not. he's in a clump of other WRs athletically. he's not desean Jackson - Dashi listed a lot of WRs - msot I agree are at least on par if not better athletes than Austin and would be much less expensive draft wise. There are a lot other WRs that are as productive or more so, that are bigger, that are faster, that are stronger, that are more agile, more explosive.

DC,

The Marlins Don't Need Players From DC, Unless DC Stands For Dominican County From The Baseball Republic. Washington DC is Known For Its B-Ball Players, Not Baseball. And Maryland Produces a lot of Football Players.

Sign M.Alou as GM and T.Peña As Manager!!

And The Marlins Will Be Dancing Come September Like If This Was The Baseball Classic!!

Notice, T.Peña had hanley and Reyes Playing Better Than O.Guillen. Playing With Heart.

I want the best LT available followed by the best DB available.

I think the fins could set their OL for years to come by going with the best LT they can position themselves for and I believe the secondary is the most glaring weakness on the team.

After those 2 postions, I don't care what they do.

Dashi, bet you love the top 4 in the Blue jay batting order ...

Jose Reyes
Melky Cabrera
Jose Bautista
Edwin Encarnacion

Santo Domingo North!

Ireland is making a point. He was taught by Parcells and that is probably a Parcells saying. I agree 100% with them. Small players are a big risk. We're not talking Welker small, or Michael Turner short. This kid is smaller than my 14 year old nephew and hates working out. REALLY? This is the guy people are going nuts over in here? And he show boats?! HAHAHA DO YOU GUYS KNOW WHO'S RUNNING THIS TEAM? You're dreaming if you think Philbin is taking this kid on his team. And Ireland is going to take a "risk to be great" when he is on the hot seat? Are you guys even thinking this through? Why anyone would want to risk ANOTHER 1st round pick on a question mark is beyond me. I guess we will never learn

Washington D.C. is a cesspool, a vast wasteland of hookers, bums, degenerates who we call politicians, and crack.

I had Forgot About D.Rodgers.

I Will Even Draft D.Rodgers Ahead Of T.Austin.

So That Is About 10 WR's, Dashi Will Draft Before T.Austin. Who Will Make Better NFL Prospects!!

And That Is Without Including LT's, TE's, Or CB's!

Disclaimer: This is NOT my point of view. Guys on WQAM were talking yesterday about Darlingtons "intriguing" comment about Dolphins Draft. One of them said the Fins will take a guy that everyone is talking about but no one is talking about. Manti Te'o. Just throwing it out there.

Keenan Allen is better than Austin and fits the system perfectly. Stop buying into the hype. We already have 3 receivers to play the slot (Bess,Gibson,Hartline). If we get Allen we can put him and Wallace on the outside and Hartline in the slot, that would make us into one of the best receiving corps in the NFL.If Keller stays healthy we would really be dangerous.

I dont care who we take as long as its a guy who can score TD's. Please dont take another OL or DL in the first, I rather a skill posisition player who can score.

Albert trying to force deal to miami. No show at workouts.

Mark...

Sorry...but when Ireland starts talking of these LOFTY standards....it makes me wanna puke....

4 straight losing seasons....i FLUKE season before that....Ireland just needs to PROVE he gets it....the time for talk is OVER....I don't want to hear it...the only sound I wan to hear is PEN TO PAPER as we sign another GEM (not acorn) during this FA period....

Listening to Ireland talk about building a football team sounds alot like the FAT guy in your office who tells everybody what to eat and how to lose weight....makes me wanna puke....

just spend the money (lose the weight)....and then you will have earned the RIGHT to speak on such things.

Mark,

Yes, Agreed. I See The Blue Jays Dancing Merengue In October.

What People Are Forgetting Is The Blue Jays Are Building Something For The Long Run. Sort Of Like The Nats(Hate To Say It, But anything is better than the braves winning The NL East For The 50th Consecutive Time.)

The Blue Jays Aren't Building Like The Yankees. Old Overpaid Veterans. The Parcells Way. They're Building The Team The Right Way.

Bobby, I jsut threw up in my mouth a little. Ogletree and Kevin Minter are both better. Why take the thrid best pure linebacker with the #12? WQAM is on crack

Dashi, for the most part, yes except for Dickey whom they paid a big price for but yes even though they traded a number of prospects away this winter, the system still has some gems ...

Anthony Gose
Aaron Sanchez
Drew Hutchinson
even Kyle Drabek I guess ...

The Marlins have a pathetic excuse of a lineup. The baseball season is over before it begins for Marlins fan, how can Loria step foot in Miami without body guards.

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 .....
Posted by: Mark in Toronto | April 02, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Mark - I agree...they all "work" and would benefit the Fins' current line up. So, that is good news...there are plenty of players who we can take at #12 and improve our team with.

The problem is the 'draft gurus' and fans will try to pick Ireland apart for whoever he selects. In the end the only way I can see declaring success is if the player selected #12 starts and contributes at a high level all year. To then compare that player at the end of the season with another player selected after #12 who plays for another NFL team just doesn't make sense to me.

Anyone that can hang 572 yards on an Oklahoma team is at least crawling on water.

bobbyd12,

I can't be Teo. His imaginary mother is a prostitute.

Seriously though you would think Teo would go late 1st and it would depend on what our plans are with Ellerbe and Misi.

Like him or not though Teo is a plug and play lber.

Bobby, Manti Te'o, NOOOO! Didn't we already get our MLB (Ellerbe). I'm thinking he's talking about Vaccaro (who's the #1 safety, but not being bandied about like these other names).

Austin would be a great pick at 12 he will be gone in the first round by the 16 th pick.Austin is an upgrade over Bess,If we cut Bess it will save Miami 3.5 Million in cap space plus we could trade him for picks.SPEED KILLS AND HE IS A NIGHTMARE MATCHUP.Can you imagine Wallace Austin and Miller on the field at the same time

Bobby @11:40am,

That would be NUTS! That would undo a lot of the great work that's been done to date. T'eo? Crazy stuff!!

I'll be p*ssed if he goes that route. Not only is he nopt very good, it's not even a need. I think those guys are on drugs to say that.

Who the h e l l is Miller??

GOD BLESS YOU ARMANDO!!!

"You see so many people posting mock drafts you just have to laugh. One would swear, after looking at some of them, that they were put together by fat guys in their underwear eating barbecue potato chips in their mom's basement.All right, enough frivolity, let's get to it."

"12. Miami Dolphins - The Dolphins can't believe Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei is still available. He no longer is."

Drew Markol , Sports Network, aka stupid idiot

Ireland effectively addressed the WR position. I don't see Miami taking one in any of the 1st three rounds.

I fully expect him to draft an OT, 2Cb's, a DE & a TE with those 1st 5 picks. The Cb's & TE are the most likely since Grimes & Keller will be up for FA next year & on the wrong side of 30.

Ireland will draft their replacements now to not have to pay out big contracts next year. Don't forget, our big 3 acquisitions contracts go way up in the next 2-3 years so all expiring contracts will be replaced via the draft.

After that will be depth at Guard, RB & WR. If it is a deep draft like most say, I expect Ireland to do a lot of trading down to acquire picks this year & next.

I don't know how much of an upgrade a receiver could be over Bess when he doesn't use the weight room and bobbles a lot of balls because he is said to have small hands. We'll see how he does.

Tavon Austin may not work due to a dire need for a LT but even so he needs to get stronger. Wes Welker and Steve Smith both put on some muscle weight. I'm all for a guy 5'9", 180 who is strong, good hands and can create separation with his quickness. I think Ireland has done a great job in FA 2013 but looking for a guy who walks on water is just not verbal enough. Welker was smart, quick and a first down machine when he played for the Dolphins. He is the most prolific receiver over the last five years. The problem when he was in Miami was that no one ever saw him walk on water. He had all the attributes but he did not walk on water.....

This is an awfully strange draft. I think all the QB's stink & the top WR's have question marks. If we stay @ 12 I believe the pick will be Jonathan Cooper if he's still there. I think b/c of his athleticism he's a better fit than Warmack.

There are a LOT of teams that need LT's & Lane Johnson is not getting past SD. Apparently Rhodes would not be a fit in a zone scheme & I'm not sure how good the other CB's after him are.

If Cooper is gone I honestly have no idea who we'd take. Would we REALLY take Eifert at 12??? Although I'm an Ertz guy, if our scouts & coaches think Eifert is THAT good then we should do it.

The Dolphins are worse then the Marlins getting rid of their best players every year. And then asking for handouts from taxpayers.

T'eo??? maybe dashi is Jeff Ireland!!!

Phins78, I'd be totally on board with Star as the #12. guy is gifted as heck. Just make sure his condition can be regulated.

"Ireland effectively addressed the WR position. I don't see Miami taking one in any of the 1st three rounds.

I fully expect him to draft an OT, 2Cb's, a DE & a TE with those 1st 5 picks. The Cb's & TE are the most likely since Grimes & Keller will be up for FA next year & on the wrong side of 30.

Ireland will draft their replacements now to not have to pay out big contracts next year. Don't forget, our big 3 acquisitions contracts go way up in the next 2-3 years so all expiring contracts will be replaced via the draft.

After that will be depth at Guard, RB & WR. If it is a deep draft like most say, I expect Ireland to do a lot of trading down to acquire picks this year & next."

LOL,

That would make a lot of sense to find cheaper replacements for Keller & Grimes. Unless they play at a Pro-Bowl level (which could happen if they're healthy) & their replacements show nothing like another Egnew did this year--I don't expect that Ireland would re-sign either player.

I keep coming back to Jonathan Cooper if we stay at 12 but I guess we could go DT & take Sheldon Richardson IF Ireland doesn't want Starks after this season. Vaughn Martin may surprise us but I believe he was signed solely for depth purposes.

There is no doubt we draft a WR to groom. This is the time to draft one of those expensive positions Ireland talked about. And I agree, Manti TE'o ughh.

Austin is not that weak even if he is small. His bench was 14 reps, good enough for top 10 amongst WRs that are expected to be drafted.

Would've been a far better team if they paid Reggie Bush and cut D Thomas. But that cheapskate Ross would rather save money even when it means a far worse team. I wont give them another dime of my money for the crap product Ross delivers. Going into every season with zero chance at a SB has gotten old. 40 years and counting.....

There is no doubt we draft a WR to groom. This is the time to draft one of those expensive positions Ireland talked about. And I agree, Manti TE'o ughh.

Bobby,

Drafting Te'o is NEVER going to happen after Ireland just shelled out big time contracts for Ellerbe & Wheeler. When you pick @ 12 you're looking for a starter & we don't need a starting LB.

lol

Austin is not that weak even if he is small. His bench was 14 reps, good enough for top 10 amongst WRs that are expected to be drafted.

Mark,

Maybe Austin will be a superstar BUT there's NO WAY he'll be a Dolphin. Ireland is not going to draft a WR or any player for that matter who is that undersized. It's just not in his DNA.

The 1st rd of the draft does look perplexing for us. The most obvious need is at OT. We really don't know if it's LT or RT. We can assume or make assumptions but thats the Dolphins call.

There is a large number of bloggers on here who suggest we trade up for a LT. That would essentually mean we would be giving a 1st and a 2nd or a 1st and a 3rd for an offensive lineman. Personally I don't see it.

I don't really see a trade down partner either. Who would be willing to give up 2nd or 3rd to get to the 12th pick? We can't even lock down who we want at 12.

All the teams that need qb's are all ready in the top 10 and its not a strong qb draft anyway. Maybe someone wants Austin that bad? Maybe the Bears want Cooper?? Nah, Odds are we're picking at 12.

All the teams that need qb's are all ready in the top 10 and its not a strong qb draft anyway. Maybe someone wants Austin that bad? Maybe the Bears want Cooper?? Nah, Odds are we're picking at 12.

Exactly. The QB's suck. Geno Smith??? I don't see it which is why you see the top to teams in the draft scrambling to get guys like Flynn, Kolb, Alex Smith, & Palmer. And people still want to complain about Tannehill after his rookie year??? I'll take Tannehill as a rookie any day of the week over any QB in the AFC East other than Tom Brady. Sanchez??? Mallett??? Kolb??? Tavaris Jackson???? These guys are terrible.

Today is April 2nd,which means Dee is one day late pronouncing the new Fins logo to be an April Fools joke.Remember to just say no--to the new logo!

IMO Austin would be a great pickup. Right now even with all the moves in FA the Dolphins are not all that scary. BUT if you add Patterson or Austin then we have become a match up nightmare for teams.

If Tavon Austin were 6'5 220 lbs and ran a 4.3 40, we wouldn't be having this discussion, he would be a top 5 pick.

So, now we scream from the mountain tops it would be foolish to pass on him at #12. Remember, for us to pass on at #12, 11 other gm's have passed on him too. Maybe, just maybe, 1 of those 11 gm's does Ireland a favor and takes him before 12. Perhaps, the Jets take him #9 or the Bills at #8, they both need to sell tickets to their fanbase too.

I pray Austin goes before #12, then this foolishness by dolphans may subside. We have 2 skill position players on offense running 4.3 40's, Miller/Wallace, possibly adding a 3rd(Swope). It just isn't that damn adamant to add Austin with a 12th overall pick.

Just why in the hell do you pick Austin at #12 when you just added Wallace and resigned Hartline to hefty contract? Many of you screaming drafting Austin also screamed Wallace/Hartline. Remember?

WNP, I'm not sold on Austin either, just trying to clear the air on this guy. Mando wrote that he doesn't hit or doesn't like the gym. Well, that's bogus because a guy who is 175 and benches 225 14 times definitely puts in his work.

We don't have a RT up to now. And crummy Guards.

SELFISHLY YES I WANT AUSTIN AT #12 BUT WE DO HAVE MORE NEEDS THAT MUST BE ADDRESSED SUCH AS OT. EVEN IF WINSTON SIGNS (HE EVENTUALLY WILL) THE POSITION MUST BE ADDRESSED SO HOW DOES THIS SOUND. DOLPHINS TRADE 2014#1 PICK ALONG WITH A 2013 #2(2ND ONE) AND A #3(2ND ONE) FOR A TEAM IN THE TOP 5 2013#1 PICK. THAT GIVES THE FINS 2 #1 PICKS IN THIS DRAFT PLUS A#2 AND #3. YOU STILL HAVE 4 PICKS IN THE 1ST 3 ROUNDS BUT NOW 2 #1'S THIS WAY YOU GET BOTH JOHNSON OT AND AUSTIN WR. YOU WOULD STILL HAVE 8 PICKS REMAINING. THIS SOLVES YOUR PROBLEMS THIS YEAR AND ALLOWS YOU TO SPEND NEXT YEAR SIGNING YOUR CORE PLAYERS OF NEED LIKE POUNCEY. IF THE FINS WIN THIS YEAR AND MAKE THE PLAYOFFS THEY WILL NOT BE DRAFTING IN THE TOP 15 ANYWAY AND IF THERE ARE NO PRIMARY NEEDS THAN IT WON'T REALLY MATTER MUCH. AS FAR AS AUSTIN'S SIZE!! BS! HE 'S PROBABLY ALREADY PUT ON 5-10 LBS SINCE THE COMBINE OR IT WON'T BE HARD TO DO. HE BRINGS PLAYMAKING ABILITY ON PUNTS,KICKOFFS, ETC. WE HAVE PLENTY OF WR'S YES BUT WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME THE DOLPHINS HAD A GOOD DANGEROUS PUNT RETURNER ? WHY IS IT A QUESTION OF SIZE WHEN THE BEST OFFENSE THIS FRANCHISE EVER HAD WAS WITH SMALL WR'S. C'MON MAN! AND AS FAR AS PHILBIN WANTING GUYS WHO ARE NOT "COCKY" BS ! ALL WR AND DB ARE COCKY SO ARE RB. PHILBIN WANTS POINTS ON THE BOARD AND ROSS WANTS THE STANDS FULL OF FANS AND CELEBRITIES!! THE ONLY WAY THIS HAPPENS IS TO GET PLAYERS WHO MAKE PLAYS. WHY ELSE WOULD THEY EVEN TALK TO AUSTIN ? BECAUSE THEY'VE SEEN HIM UP CLOSE AND KNOWS EXACTLY HOW THIS WILL HELP THIS TEAM. DRAFT HIM BUT ONLY IF YOU KNOW YOU CAN FILL THE OTHER NEEDS LATER. TRADE UP FOR ONLY A #1 TO GO WITH YOUR #1 AND PROBLEM IS SOLVED.

Could Austin just be the 2013 version of Reggie Bush, only smaller?

He can return kicks, catch passes, and run out of the backfield on limited occasions? IMO, the thing to be most careful of with Austin, is making sure you didn't overdraft an all-purpose utility player.

Terribly needing a OT, Austin is just too huge a roll of the dice for us. Especially if Tannehill cant have sufficient time to consistently get the ball into his or any other of our playmakers hands.

Then what does drafting Austin really profits us?

I mean, you don't have to be Jeff Darlington to know that the Dolphins are going after the Creme de la Crème of all OL in this year's Draft. Jonathan Cooper.

Remember when if Matt Barkley would have came out Tannehill would never be taken in first round. I am SO glad fans don't get a say.

if he hits the pick is gold... Another young weapon that Tannehill can develop with for years. Speed and versatility make him the best BPA imo.

What really boggles my mind is how, playing for the same qb and offense, Austin scores 12 td's and Stedman Bailey scores 28td's.

Someone needs to find the answer to that question quick and very quick. Drafts only 3 weeks away and Bailey may g 3rd rd. A couple years from, many could be scratching their heads Bailey became a better pro, when the stats were smacking us in the face and we were to comatose to respond to them.

YG - My argument is Austin is a totally different WR / RB / ST guy that adds a lot of versatility to your offense. IMO Patterson fits that mold as well so IMO either will do. Right now with the FA Miami has signed the only player that will get doubled is Wallace and it will not be every play. Defenses will have to know where Austin and Wallace are at all times on the field.

While I like Swope I do not think he adds the same dynamic play making ability that Austin will add to a team. Miami or whatever team, this guy is going to turn heads.

YG - If you draft Austin how much time do you need to get rid of the ball. We will dictate to the D, they will not dictate to Miami's offense.

We could still land a quality OT in the 2nd or 3rd. David Quessenberry or Armstead will be around. Not to mention Nixon or Long.

Reggie Bush Was The Most Over hyped Underachieving Individual, The NFL has Ever Seen.

Yes!! Even Te'o Makes More Sense Than T.Austin at #12.

The Fins Still Need A LB To Replace Misi. And One That Can Cover Helps.

But I Would Pick One Of The OLB's Still Available. D.Moore Or J.Jones.

Right Now, #12 Should be BPA.

#1 At His Position.

A FS or OG.

We Can Get A Good OT and A CB in The 2nd.

No chance Bailey is going 3rd RD, YG. He is a complete Player, NFL ready WR and I only wish we could lay our hands on him.

Good post as usual and informative but best of all, it brought Soiled Bottom back to the blog. All is well with the world again.

Just too many very good wr's to be had this draft to roll the dice on Austin in lieu of taking care of our OT position. I would much rather add Stedman Bailey 3rd rd, if available. He could be a huge upgrade to Devon Bess in the slot.

If nothing else, Bailey would give us 5 wr's that would be hard to handle for any defense. That would make up for any deficiency of not drafting Tavon if we had to face him.

Look guys, it isn't as if Tavon Austin is going to consistently win games by himself in this league. I just do not see that ever happening. But he is the type of player that can make some exciting plays.

But, on the other hand, we have a couple players in the offense right now that will make exciting plays this season. I see Ireland adding at least 1 more in the draft, but not at #12.

The Fins Are In A Pretty Envious Position. High Draft Pick With Only 1 Real Need(OT). And Multiple Picks In Rounds 2-3.

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