Baltimore's Austin drafted by Rams

Baltimore's Austin drafted by Rams
April 25, 2013, 9:00 pm
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West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin (1) carries the ball on a 31 yard gain against the Oklahoma Sooners.

(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Tavon Austin, the Baltimore native who starred at Dunbar before running roughshod over defenses as an all-purpose threat at West Virginia, was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night.

At 5-foot-8 and 174 pounds, Austin is undersized by NFL standards, but his speed – he ran a 4.34 in the 40 at the Scouting Combine -- and ability to make good things happen with the ball in his hands wowed NFL scouts.

That obviously included the Rams, who traded up eight spots to take Buffalo’s pick at No. 8 overall to grab Austin.

Austin worked as a receiver, running back and return specialist as a senior with the Mountaineers, and he turned a nationally-televised game against Oklahoma into his personal highlight film.

Austin totaled 572 all-purpose yards in that game – second-most in Football Bowl Subdivision history -- caught four passes for 82 yards, ran 21 times for 344 yards and two touchdowns and totaled 146 kick return yards.

Austin finished his senior season with 112 catches for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns, ran 72 times for 643 yards and three scores and had 978 return yards and two touchdowns.

Austin projects as a slot receiver in the NFL who also figures to make his mark in the return game. NFL Network Michael Irvin called Austin a "four-down player."

 “"He's a great player. He's going to have just a phenomenal career,” Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said. “He's a special kid. He's wired the right way. Anything you want, Tavon Austin has to be a good player."


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