I think there’s a decent chance that most of the RotoViz contributors end up liking Tavon Austin’s WVU teammate Stedman Bailey a little more than Austin in upcoming dynasty drafts.
But that doesn’t mean that Tavon Austin couldn’t be a good pro. It’s most likely that our attraction to Bailey will be related to his excellent track record in college (we all tend to like production that shows up on the stat sheet) and we also tend to like getting a guy that we see as being undervalued.
But I actually think that Tavon Austin’s success as a pro could be somewhat self-fulfilling. If a team spends a 1st or 2nd round pick on him as a utility/return/slot receiver type guy, they’re going to try to get him the ball. You could pretty easily see him being a PPR monster from the get-go. Saying that Austin could be a PPR monster might seem like a backhanded compliment and I guess it is sort of. I tend to like big receivers because they stay relevant all over the field. I’m also not a big fan of what MIN did with Percy Harvin this year where they threw him about a million screens. I just don’t think there’s a lot of value in stretching the field east-west because eventually you have to go north south. So I would want to build my NFL team with my #1 WR being a guy that goes over 215 pounds and is red-zone efficient, and then I would add smaller speed receivers in the mid or later rounds.
Again, none of this is to say that Austin couldn’t be a good pro, I just wouldn’t want to overpay for a player like him if I were a GM. I know that some people would point out the chain-moving abilities of Wes Welker, which is a fine argument, although I would argue that the NE offense gets most of its efficiency from Gronkowski and Brady. Basically, if NE didn’t have Gronk to finish drives, we wouldn’t regard that offense as being a juggernaut and would instead just think of it as very good.
In any case, I’ve run some Tavon Austin comparables in order to get a sense as to what his range of outcomes as a pro might be. The table below shows Austin’s measurables including weight and 40 time, along with his production numbers from the 2012 season. Then I have a list of guys who were somewhat similar. This is the first time that I’ve ever added rushing numbers to the receiver comparables but I think it’s now necessary as we get more and more guys who played multiple roles in college.
One thing that comps help us do is set a historic market for a guy’s production. The receivers on the list were picked as early as 16th (Moss) and as late as 64th (Cobb).
*msYDS = Market Share of College Team Receiving Yards, msTD = Market Share of College TDs, SOS = Standardized Strength of Schedule.
|Tavon Austin-West Virginia||2012||174||4.34||0.63||13.00||30%||29%||99.15||0.92||11.31||49.40|
|Santana Moss-Miami (FL)||2000||181||4.31||0.86||10.00||28%||20%||74.10||0.50||16.84||20.10|