Making the case for Tavon Austin at No. 17

Making the case for Tavon Austin at No. 17

The Steelers have more than their fair share of needs to address in up-coming free agency and the NFL Draft. The Steelers are in desperate need of running backs and receivers. While there’s probably more of a chance that the Steelers will lean towards the defense in the first round, it wouldn’t hurt to entertain the idea of drafting a wide receiver/ running back type of guy at pick 17. Insert Tavon Austin.

At the NFL Combine, Austin wasn’t lacking any confidence when he stepped to the podium. “I think I’m the best all-around player in the draft,” he said. And when he took the field, he was nothing short of impressive. His official 40-yard dash time was a 4.34, the second best at the combine behind Olympic track star Marquise Goodwin. Speed isn’t the only thing Austin brings to the table. He brings the element of surprise and adds a wrinkle to any offense. He can step in as a slot guy or he can line up in the backfield. He can also be deadly in the return game.

With Mike Wallace on the way out, that leaves Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. Both of these guys are small and fast receivers but neither of them bring the elements that Austin brings. The Steelers also have questions concerning the running back position, with Rashard Mendenhall a free agent. Fans might be against the fact that Austin is only 5’8″ and 173 pounds, but he plays bigger than his measurements.

Receiving, he had 114 receptions for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. That’s not all he did on the field though. He also rushed for 643 yards on 72 carries, averaging almost 9.0 yards per carry. He returned 15 punts, scoring on 1, and returned 33 kicks, also scoring on 1 of those.

Austin has the ability to be the league’s next Wes Welker but faster. It’s no surprise that both Welker and Austin are products of a Dana Holgorsen offense.

Imagine seeing this on the Steeler’s offense.

 

Photo Credit: couchfiresports.com

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Matthew Welch

Matthew is a freelance writer for Pittsburgh Sporting News.

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