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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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We will be flying another Fire Ireland plane sign over the stadium for the home opener. Go to FinHeaven if you'd like to contribute.

1st Tyler Eifert TE Notre Dame
2nd Jonathan Cyprien S FIU
2nd David Amerson CB North Carolina State
3rd John Simon DE Ohio State University
3rd Ryan Swope WR Texas A&M
4th Xavier Nixon OT Florida
5th Le'Veon Bell RB Michigan State
6th Rodney Smith WR FSU
7th Knile Davis RB Arkansas

Eiffert better than ALREADY proven Keller.....

I don't think so Craig M.....

You only draft a TE @ #12 if his name is Vernon Davis....and he runs a 4.3.....Eiffert is NOT that guy......

I have no idea what the pick will be....but I will be disappointed if we take Eiffert...and and Austin is there....Austin is clearly the more dynamic play maker....even tho the TE fills a need.....lets not REACH for need....when we have a PROVEN TE on the squad....and a 3rd RD pick backing him up.....

Tavon Austin is no ted ginn, anyone with eye could see ginn was a track player on the football field. Austin is a football player period. Now with that said I wouldn't take him with the 12 pick cause Miami just don't need him when we could use T, DE, DT(Both DT are free agents next year), TE, Safety, RB, CB, G. WR looks to be the most set position right now. Would love to have him but, the smart thing to do is to get a tackle (even if you have to trade up) or a Trade down and get a corner.

Dear Mr. Salguero

I just read this...Ex-Dolphins pick Pat White back working out.

Draft Tavon Austin sign Ted Ginn bring back Pat White.

Not one side-line in the NFL would be safe.

Now where did I put my bag of shrooms

Soiled :)

Idiots, who needs a WR right now. Wr maybe in the late rounds. Bess will be just fine. He will have lots of room to roam the middle.

I take Eifert over Austin cuz Tannehill needs a playmaking TE. Honestly don't see any other player making as much impact this year. Keller, Egnew, and Mastrud aren't cutting it. Also, I see Tannehill and Sherman pushing for Swope. Getting Wallace and Hartline gives us a solid #1 and 2.

I would still love the Austin pick though. More weapons for Tannehill!

I would much rather take Star Lotulelei if available #12, over Eiffert or Austin. We're talking a guy in the thick of 1st overall pick conversation prior to the combine heart condition discovery.

If falling to #12, Star Lotulelei is easily and by far best player available. He's no brainer if at least Johnson didn't land right into our laps.


Keller hasn't even suit up for us yet and he ain't cutting it? Foolary (new word just for you)

B33.....

why are you guys sleeping on Keller.....

is it his blocking skills....or....something else.....

I personally think Ireland will go OL but I think the more weapons for Tanne...the better as well.....

Kris,

Keller is not the future. He's a stop gap. That's why he was signed to a one year deal. That's why the only team that showed interest were the Jets and 'Phins.

Eiffert's the real deal. We're very likely going to be faced with the situation of needing a starter next year. I don't see Keller as that guy. Do with Eiffert what Ireland did with Miller and Martin. Draft them to be the replacements a year ahead of time. Smart.

Wow, I guess by the redundant Austin, Austin rants. He'll easily be the next Calvin "Megatron" Johnson!

It seems that everyone in the league agrees that this is a deep draft from 25 to 70 (something around that). Sitting at #12 means we'll probably miss on the few elite prospects (3 LTs, S Floyd, Milliner, Star perhaps) and may be reaching with an Eifert, Austin, Patterson, etc. I'd look into trading down with a SF, for example, and getting an extra 1 for next year and maybe a 2nd or 3rd this year (anyone know the point system). The Niners definitely have the ammo and would be willing to get rid of picks just to get the player they want...We can then use those picks to fill all our needs with very solid players and, maybe, even pick up a first rounder next year.

Kris,

'A third round pick backing him up'? You kidding man? I guess you mean Egnew? Backing him up where? In the showers? The guy could barely even get on the field last year. Now we're relying on him to back up Keller? Hate that plan....

When all is said and done......If we don't acquire an "ALL-PRO-qualified" LT, this whole FA offensive plan goes up in smoke....

....seems like Albert is asking too much money....

....and maybe something Philbin saw in the "tape" makes him uncommitted to the Martin at LT project (which might explain the hesitency to sign Eric Winston)...

.....therefore, if Ireland and Philbn, et al think one of the top 3 LT draftees fills this NEED......and if they see the opportunity to move up and get him..they will...

...just my opinion...

I think that Miami makes a trade with Cleveland and moves up to take Milliner, CB, from Alabama.

Keller has dealt with injuries and I bet Eifert could beat him out year 1. Not saying it happens all the time but Eifert has been a 3 year starter at ND n IMO he is ready to play right away. Keller makes a much better 2nd option TE anyways.

This is widely considered the worst draft class in recent years.

YG....


you are the king of redundant post....remember page AFTER page of your "draft T'eo"remember...you turned T'eo in to the next RAY LEWIS.....I would think that if anyone can appreciate redundant...its you....

I know you guys don't want to fathom the thought of it. But what makes you so sure Ireland signed Keller for only one year to give Egnew a little more time to develop?

I am aware as any of you of Engew's 2012 season. However, Im not a closed minded about him as many of you now appear to be. From offseason Egnew comments, Jeff Ireland doesn't appear to be as closed minded either.

The guy calling Egnew a pussie is lready off the team. Hell yeah, Im saying that player was big mouthed Dansby.

PHINS 78...


I HOPE YOU CAN SUPPLY US WITH A NAME OF A SMALL NFL PLAYER WHO WIEGHT 130 Ib AS YOU STATED IN YOUR POST.THE FACT IS ,IN THE NFL WHEN YOU SAY SMALL .IT MEANS SHORT WITH MINUM OF 170 ib .....


I DISAGREE...

Egnew will not even make the opening day roster. A total bust.

trading down would be my preference as well getting another 2 would help and still enable us to get either Eifert or Ertz

It doesn't appear this way....but let's hope Egnew wakes up to be the next Tony Gonzalez.....


....Go Fins!!!!

B33RCA53,

Exactly right! I'm not saying Eiffert should be the pick at 12 be he'd instantly upgrade what we'd be able to do at the TE position. Like you, I don't believe he'd start from day one but he'd bring an added dimension to this offence. When looking at this Dolphin offence in the past, getting TDs in the red zone has been a consistent option. Eiffert over anyone makes this less of a problem.

Wow, YG, got to agree. Star is the BPA not named named Lane Johnson in this draft.... (Sheldon Richardson and Eric Fisher are interchangeable and on par with their respective positional peers).

Craig...that's all very true...but . then I ask....what to do at LT ????

That problem is not going away, and it is glaring....

ALoco,

Small can be 6'7 180lbs. You can be tall and extremely thin, which is the same as small. Short is just short. Austin is small and short.

Only thing he has going for him is speed and quickness. That does gets you drafted too. Just maybe not top 15.

Craig M....

I'm not saying that I love the plan either.....but that is what Mr. Ireland has leftt us with....

Also....don't believe everything you read....if you think that the jets and the FINS were the ONLY teams interested in Keller.....well.....that's just not the case.....

Haha, back him up in the shower ... awesome

Yup, if a guy that could have been 1st overall pick becomes available at #12, you have to take him regardless of need.

I like Star a lot but I doubt he will be there at 12... Even if I still want the phins to go offense first. Just go after the BPA that can help this offense become scary.

B33RCA53...ikt will be a scary offense for real if the LT is a revolving door !!!!

I don't know I really like Soliai and Starks in the middle now. Also think Odrick is interchangeable in/out. Star makes sense if they have plans to move Starks I guess. His 9 mil franchise tag might be moveable... I think a lot of teams could use Starks. Still doesn't make sense to me though

I keep reading different posts calling for a skilled player with the 12th pick....


....yes....we need a LT who is skilled at keeping the opponent's outside rusher from tearing Tanny's head off.....

need to deal for albert and draft a corner

A PEACE AGREEMENT SHOULD BE SIGNED BETWEEN YG AND MARK IN TORONTO ,,,

Kris,

You got some insight as to who else was involved in having interest in Keller? I'd like to here about it. When Bennett and Cook went off the board quick getting multi year deals and Keller struggled to get a one year deal, that says a lot right there. Keller's not the long term answer here at TE. So what are we waiting for? If Egnew still works out then great but it can't be plan A.

Dusty...suppose Albert will cost more than they want to give up...both in dollars and picks....

...so what's the next move?....

Two Best TE's In The Entire NFL:

Gronk and Davis, hands down.

Neither Eiffert nor Ertz can hold a candle next to either of them. So exactly what makes either #12 worthy?

Unless I see a TE looking like the 2nd coming of Gronk or Davis, just wouldn't touch him #12. The Pats got Gronk for for a 2nd rd pick.

#12 is just far too high to draft any of these TE's. Especially when its arguable Gavin Escobar could have just a good a pro career as those drafted ahead him. He may not go until 3rd rd.

Keller is good but let's be honest if he hadn't disappointed the perennially disappointing Jets he wouldn't have went anywhere for a 1 year deal. Part of it is that he got injured last year and didn't really contribute all that much. Really doesn't hurt to surround Tannehll with a bunch of options to throw to and wasn't too expensive to nab. Personally I like C Clay better than Keller at this point cuz I'm excited by his growth.

Eifert and Ertz are 6'6 and give a very real seam threat and a tall redzone target

buster,

When making a trade for a franchised player, you might want to have a contract already negotiated before making the trade. You'll either have to franchise him again or risk losing him if you cant sign him.

Before making the trade, Im sure Ireland would have had a sitdown with Albert and agent to see what theyre looking for. The trade would then be contingent upon the guy isn't asking for the moon to be resigned.

Hopefully a new contract would be worked out before Albert became a dolphin.

buster kc wants 2 picks, miami only wants to give up a 2nd rd . i agree with them. kc will give in i think with albert staying away from team and begging for deal to mia. they should give him a 3 year deal

Escobar will prolly land in the 2nd and is a much bigger risk coming from SDSU. I'll take a ND or Stanford pedigree over SDSU any day.

Ireland loved West Virginia QB Pat White so he may like Austin or even Geno Smith also.

skins signed pat white

B33RCA53,

You had a 2nd rd ND TE we just allowed to walk in FA. Remember Anthony Fasano?

2ND rd pick out of Notre Dame by the Dallas Cowboys. Would you like to rethink that now?

I wouldn't mind seeing what Martin can do at LT. Get a RT in the draft or maybe go after B Mckinnie for a year.

didnt take long for fcgu coach to use his 15 mins of fame to bolt for usc

mckinnie sucks now. and no thanks on austin

DUSTY ,
IS PAT WHITE NEWS TRUE?

Posted by: Yesterday's Gone 4Ever! | April 02, 2013 at 05:25 PM

Wasn't Gronk a 2nd rd pick? At some point, before that draft someone said the same thing about him, just like you say about Ertz or Eifert. If NE knew what they got with that pick, they'd probably trade up to #12 (or higher to get him).

yes aloco

well...for a guy who is gonna go begging, he sure stands to do just fine staying where he is.....just sayin..

....KC is trying to make us jump the gun ...they could wait until draft day....hoping we blink....

don't see your point... Fasano was a good player for us. You do realize it's 2013 right?

B33RCA53,

None of know what the fo and staff really feels of Martin starting LT. Theyre playing their cards very close to the vest on this. None have endorsed him as 2013 starter at LT. Could be a smoke screen, could be they really aren't 100% comfortable with it.

All we can do is assume they aren't and project Johnson at #12 pick. If they are 100% comfortable with Martin to start LT, naturally we'll seek a RT, possibly 2nd rd(Fluker).

kc lost all leverage today with albert going on nfl network and skipping workouts in kc and staying in la

Martin was a total turnstile at LT. Remember Tannehill was shutout when Martin played LT.

some one told me YESTERDAY ,THAT THE 49'S WILL SIGN HIM IN A FEW DAYS AFTER A VIST BY HIM TI THE 49'S..

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