Tavon Austin will produce more fireworks this year than the Fourth of July.
The electrifying St. Louis Rams rookie is the early favorite to win the 2013 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and should be taking the hardware home when the season is over.
The Rams, realizing Austin is a dynamic playmaker, traded up to grab their guy and draft him with the eighth pick in the NFL Draft.
The West Virginia product was the first offensive skill position player to be selected. The next one would be EJ Manuel, the Buffalo Bills selected him with the 16th pick, and you would have to wait until the 27th pick in order to see another wide receiver drafted.
So it is obvious that many teams considered Austin to be one of the most explosive players in the draft class.
The ex-Mountaineer is so fast that he would blow away even Speedy Gonzales. Austin is a threat to score whenever he has the ball in his hands. As an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate, that is really important.
He is also incredibly athletic and a great receiver with reliable hands. Furthermore, he is brilliant as a ball-carrier, with outstanding vision and unparalleled explosiveness. He is tough and can bounce back after getting knocked down. Austin plays with great tempo, slowing it down and then bursting away into the end zone for six points.
Those six points will keep racking up until the Ram takes the league by storm en route to a Rookie of the Year win.
He is shifty, quick and unstoppable. Opposing defenses will learn this the hard way.
Colligate teams also got taught this lesson last year when Austin burned everyone during his senior season, as the linked video demonstrates.
Yes, that senior year was very special.
He caught 114 passes for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns. While that is superbly impressive, it isn’t even the half of it. Austin added a monstrous 643 yards with three touchdowns on the ground.
But wait, there’s more!
He returned 15 punts for 165 total yards and a touchdown. He also scored while running back kickoffs finishing with 813 yards on 33 returns.
Perhaps the greatest moment in that very great season was a 572 all-purpose yards, second most in FBS history, outing against Oklahoma.
He was on display from start to finish during that game. The superstar had 82 yards receiving, 344 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground and, just for good measure, added 146 kick return yards.
Austin will bring that versatile style to the NFL and the Rams. Head Coach Jeff Fisher will try and get the ball into the hands of the rookie as early and often as possible.
Once he has the pigskin, then, honestly, the sky is the limit for what he is capable of doing.
One may bring up the fair argument that not many wide receivers win the Offensive Rookie of the Year. That is true as only eight pass catchers have taken home the award in its history.
But guess who was the last receiver to win the OROY?
Percy Harvin in 2009.
Yes, the player that Austin is most like was the last receiver to win the award. The rookie has already started drawing comparisons to the now Seattle Seahawk.
Their playing styles are very similar as both are incredibly versatile. The two can play almost any offensive skill position and are valuable assets to an offensive coordinator.
They run circles around the opposition.
Both are incredible playmakers and that will bode well for Austin.
The Rams are blessed to have drafted a player who is so athletic and will now need to figure out a way to utilize him in the best way possible. Once they do, Tavon Austin will go lights out on the NFL.
He will pop out of your screen and illuminate the field. Voters will be forced to take notice.
Take notice they will.
This is also partly because of the lack of competition.
Very few quarterbacks are expected to start in their rookie season and even if they do, such as Manuel, then they will most likely struggle. Austin won’t be going up against any Andrew Luck or RG3 type competition. That will be a big factor for his success in 2013.
He also won’t have to compete with the Doug Martin’s or Alfred Morris’ of the world. Some rookie running backs are expected to start or have big roles, but all will lack the power and talent of the aforementioned duo.
This will aid Austin in a huge way. No rookie stands out on paper as a big enough competitor to topple the Ram as favorite for Rookie of the Year.
When the dust settles, he will still be a shoo-in to win the esteemed award.
Finally, at the end of the 2013 NFL season, it will be Tavon Austin carrying home the Offensive Rookie of the Year.