<
>

Tavon Austin's biggest fan

4/16/2013

There has been a growing buzz about the possibility of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin with the 13th overall pick in next week’s draft.

Personally, I think it’s a long shot. I think the Bucs will use the pick on a cornerback (or some other defensive player) if they stay put and haven’t made a trade for Darrelle Revis.

But if Jon Gruden, who was fired by the Bucs after the 2008 season, still was coaching the team I think there would be a very good chance of Austin landing in Tampa Bay.

“He's my favorite player in the draft," Gruden, now an ESPN analyst, said in a conference call with the national media. “I'm sensitive to him because he's 5-foot-8 like myself. When you watch the kid play, he's magnificent. He's a great return man -- punts, kicks. He lines up at tailback, and he plays like a tailback. He looks like Darren Sproles at tailback and he looks like Wes Welker in the slot."

I’ve spent a lot of time around Gruden the past few months, helping with his Insider scouting reports on the players coming through Gruden’s QB Camp. Gruden has liked just about every player to come through the camp. But, for Gruden to say Austin (who was not part of the camp), is his favorite player in this draft is pretty significant praise.

“I've seen him be magnificent after the catch, all-purpose yardage, look, he's tough," Gruden said. “Tremendous stop and start quickness and flat‑out finishing speed. I've seen quick guys, fast players, but I've never seen very many that have the combination of speed and quickness like Austin has. He ran for 8,000 yards as a high school tailback in Maryland, and he averaged 7 or 8 yards a carry this year when they handed it to him. He's just a fun, deluxe joker to have on your football team. He's going to make an impact, I believe, big time."

We’ll see if current coach Greg Schiano likes Austin as much as Gruden does.