I’m going to continue to look at the wide receiver position in my 2013 Seattle Seahawks Draft Picks articles. We’ve already broken down Keenan Allen and DeAndre Hopkins, two guys that are outside threats and have the height that the Seahawks love.
Today, instead, I’ll be looking deeper into a lesser need – but one that would arguably help the Seahawks offense as much as a deep burner type.
Wes Welker has dominated the NFL with his remarkable slot play over the past half-dozen seasons with the New England Patriots. The man has multiple 100 reception seasons and each comes with a 1,000 yards receiving. In fact, Welker has led the NFL in receptions three times and had less than 1,100 yards receiving only once. Welker has proven to be one of the leagues most indefensible targets.
The Patriots are rumored to not be willing to apply the franchise tag on their 32-year-old receiver because the cap hit ($11 million plus) would prevent them from adding key pieces this offseason.
The Seahawks aren’t likely to be in the bidding for Welker as they already have big money devoted to the position in Sidney Rice and Zach Miller. So the next best thing would be to use a pick and draft a Wes Welker clone in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Name: Tavon Austin, Senior, WR, West Virginia
Ht/Wt: 5′ 9” 175 pounds
Strengths: The Paul Hornung Award. The college award is given to the player that has been deemed as the most versatile in the nation. Tavon Austin has contributed to the West Virginia football team as a wide receiver, running back and in the return game as an electric return-man. In a loss to Oklahoma, Austin finished the contest with 571 all-purpose yards. That was the second most in the history of the FBS.
His “video game like” abilities, quick first step and ability to plant and go make him the ideal candidate to fill the slot receiver role on any teams roster.
Knows how to change gears and turn on the jets to blow by others on the field. Very good start/stop ability with patience and vision to quickly survey and waste little time creating, always appearing to have a plan. Goes zero-to-60 in a flash and forces poor angles by defenders, following blocks and anticipating holes to set up his moves.
Doesn’t that sound like someone who the Seahawks would love to add in the passing game for Russell Wilson?
Weaknesses: The biggest knock on Austin is obviously his size. As a 5′ 9” 175 pound receiver asked to go across the middle of an NFL field, injury is a strong concern with such a small frame going against men who have a 75+ pound advantage charging his way.
As is with great playmakers in college, Austin tends to try to do too much at times which really hurts him on a couple of levels. Catching the ball and then looking to make a play will be something he must improve to truly rival someone like Welker. Learning to take a no-gain rather than a loss of yards is something that coaches will work on with Austin at the NFL level.
Tavon Austin could be the next Percy Harvin with his ability to contribute in so many ways. The Seahawks already have Golden Tate filling a similar role but he’s been seen as a slight disappointment after being drafted in the second round. 2012 was a breakout year for Tate and with that comes a higher salary. Scheduled to make $630,000 in 2013, Tate will be a free agent in 2014 and could see his salary jump significantly. Austin would be a nice piece to have if that happens.