Gordon: Patriots Need to Take Chance on Rams Receiver

Gordon: Patriots Need to Take Chance on Rams Receiver

by March 1, 2018 0 comments

The Los Angeles Rams announced Thursday that they would either be trading or releasing their 2012 first round selection wide receiver Tavon Austin come the beginning of the league year on Mar. 14.

An undersized receiver, Austin has been completely misused by the Rams his entire career as more of a utility player. Austin only has a sole 100-yard receiving game in his career and five games with 100 or more scrimmage yards.

After a two-year stretch where Austin totaled 110 receptions and 2,207 total purpose yards, Austin appeared to be finally coming into his own as a receiver and living up to his extension he received. However, the team changed with the hiring of a new head coach.

It was clear that in 2017, new Rams head coach Sean McVay changed the system to incorporate more of a vertical attack with the likes of Cooper Kupp, Sammy Watkins, and Robert Woods. When Austin was used in the limited time he was on the field, it was for the short passes to take advantage of his 4.34 speed he exhibited at West Virginia and at the combine.

 

The New England Patriots drool over players like this. Receivers who are undersized and can gain yards after the catch.

One of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s favorite plays is dumping it off to his receiver or running back on a screen pass and letting him do the work.

Examples of the fast receivers who have done these plays can be traced all the way back to Deion Branch as well as in more recent history Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Brandon Lloyd, Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola, Dion Lewis, James White, and Rex Burkhead.

Take a look at these plays posted online by the NFL and any fan or viewer of the Patriots should recognize it.

First words that will come from fans will say that he’s washed up and or ask the question that if he couldn’t catch on with the Rams of all places, then how will he fit with the Patriots?

Answers to these questions are simple.

Versatility

Austin is versatile and can do more than one trick on the field. He’s an above average special teams player with 1,356 punt return yards in his career to go along with three punt returns for a touchdown.

Austin can play as an outside-the-numbers threat as well as inside in the slot. Not only that, Austin has played snaps as a running back and rushing the ball via end arounds.

While he has had ball control issues throughout his career, it’s a problem that can be fixed with the proper coaching in New England.

Low Risk/High Reward

Austin, checks off another category that always play music in head coach Bill Belichick’s ears. He’s cheap.

If Austin is released and not traded, Austin’s four-year $42 million contract goes out the window and can spend the year with the Patriots on a “prove it” deal that won’t cost the Patriots an arm and a leg.

The best part about that. If he just so happens no to work out and can’t get the system, you can let him walk and it won’t make a dent in their wallet.

Age

At 27 years old, Austin is still in a position to enter the prime years of his career. Not to mention that while the Patriots are indeed getting younger at other places, the same can’t be said at receiver.

The slot receivers on the Patriots in Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola if re-signed are 31 and 32 respectively. Two tough ages to keep playing at a high level at receiver.

If Austin pans out, it could mean a future at the position along with Cooks if the Patriots choose not to go with Amendola this year and let him walk.

The team has an opportunity to find great talent at a low price and must not pass up this opportunity to take a look at a versatile player with tremendous upside.

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