"I knew he was fast but I never knew how fast until I saw him playing tennis by himself." --Lou Holtz
Although that's in reference to Rocket Ismail, the speedster from the glory days of Notre Dame Football, it'd be a great description for Tavon Austin today. He's fast, folks. Scary fast.
I'm aware that he doesn't do much to directly solve the offensive line problems in San Diego. However, the Chargers have a bit of a dilemma on their hands in that sense, because the speculation in recent weeks has continued to mount that all three of the top offensive tackles may be off the board before Pick 11. That would seem to be a nightmare scenario for Kid Dynamite--and maybe more so for Philip Rivers. That's where Austin comes in.
Tavon Austin is the perfect Plan B for the Chargers--that is, if you can really call a guy who can run a blazing 4.34 forty a Plan B.
While the 5'8'' Austin lacks the ideal size for an NFL wide receiver, he more than makes up for it with his exceptional speed, agility and big play ability; All of which were on full display throughout his career at West Virginia. In addition, Austin is tough and fearless, as he's known not to shy away from bigger players. However, his greatest asset is his versatility. He lined up anywhere and everywhere in college--outside the numbers, in the slot and even in the backfield. In doing so, he racked up nearly 4,500 yards from scrimmage and scored 35 touchdowns. His versatility reminds me a lot of Percy Harvin, except Austin is faster and even more elusive.
Only One (Tavon Austin Senior Highlights) (via dougitydog)
Tavon Austin is the type of weapon that Philip Rivers has missed since the days of Darren Sproles in San Diego. Austin would keep defenses honest and put fear in their eyes, the same way Sproles once did, by creating big plays against blitzes. Most of all, Austin would take some pressure off the offensive line by being the precious safety valve that Rivers has missed since Sproles. Whenever a play broke down, Sproles was seemingly always there to catch the dump pass and somehow turn it in to a first down. That's the ability Austin has.
Although Austin would be a perfect Plan B, the Chargers should really give some thought to him being Plan A. He would change the whole landscape of the offense; he's that special of a playmaker. In addition, it's time we all start being wholly honest about the situation in San Diego. The offensive line isn't one elite tackle prospect from being a capable unit. The Chargers might be better served to give Rivers an explosive playmaker in Austin at 11 and address the offensive line thereafter.
In the end, the solution to the Philip Rivers conundrum won't be just rebuilding his offensive line. If they ever want to get him back on track and be considered among the elite QBs again, the Chargers will need to surround Rivers with the kind of elite weapons that have left San Diego in recent years.
Austin would be a great start. A fast start.