One of the biggest reasons that the NFL Draft has become the most popular draft among the other sports is because of the expectations that are placed on rookies. When the Rams traded up to the 8th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, expectations were through the roof for WR Tavon Austin.
Austin was the first receiver taken in the draft as Austin was a man among boys during his final collegiate season. The Rams needed help on offense and chose the best playmaker in the draft. So how has the amazing playmaking 5-foot-8 wide receiver that could make the best defenders miss in open space done so far in his NFL career?
Is 2016 the year that changes?
There is no battle for playing time when it comes to Austin. The Rams will have Austin on the field for a majority of the snaps during the season. The only question with Austin is where will he line up for when he's on the field.
Yes, Austin is listed as a receiver, but it is best to think of Austin as a gadget player thus far in his career. He lines up as an outside receiver, as a slot receiver, as a running back and he even returns kicks. Even if rookie fourth-round pick Pharoh Cooper develops into a good slot option for the Rams, there is still space on the field for Austin.
Tavon Austin leads all WRs in handoffs over he last two seasons with 88. Randall Cobb is second with 25.— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) July 13, 2016
With the move to L.A. and Austin being the most recognizable name at receiver, expectations will be high...although they shouldn't be.
Yes, Austin danced in the endzone ten times last season, and his 473 receiving and 434 rushing yards were decent. If the Rams offense is going to climb their way out of the basement though, Austin needs to at least have 700 receiving yards. I do think that it is unfair to hold Austin to his draft position and expect him to become a DeAndre Hopkins, however this should be the year that he comes into his own as a receiver. Of course, Jeff Fisher thinks that Austin will catch 100 plus passes this season...right.
Chances of Making The Final Roster (10/10)
Besides Todd Gurley, there is not another player that defensive coaches will care about. The hope is that Austin has developed well enough to finally be the player that many hoped he would be.