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2013 NFL Draft: West Virginia WR Tavon Austin

The series returns in full swing as we turn to the playmaker Tavon Austin. Is he someone you'd be interested in the late first or second round?

Al Messerschmidt


Tavon Austin is a fairly interesting character in this draft, particularly from the Bears' perspective. For one, he's a pretty explosive playmaker with the ball in his hands and a dangerous returner, and he's already had four years of experience at the college level as an offensive player.

You can certainly argue the Bears' two highest picks aren't supposed to go to a wide receiver, since the Bears seem to have a solid receiving corps with Brandon Marshall, last year's second round pick Alshon Jeffery and Earl Bennett third, but after that is a giant question mark with Johnny Knox still not returned from his attempt to morph into a paper airplane. Eric Weems is a special teams ace proficient in both returns and in gunner, but is lacking in the receiver department, and with Devin Hester willing to accept a reduced role in the offense to solely return until his career is done, even if he stays the Bears still have an opening down the depth chart with a smooth transition into Hester's slot.

Austin doesn't have ideal size, but in his snaps as a runner he's willing to make plays against bigger bodies and is outstanding in quick screens - CBS's Rob Rang compares him to a Percy Harvin, DeSean Jackson or Wes Welker, but without Harvin's physicality or Jackson's overwhelming deep threat, nor does he have Welker's route-running - sound like a bit of a poor man's Frankenstein's creation if you're taking out those three things.

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CBS Sports currently has the 2012 Paul Hornung Award Winner as the 38th overall prospect and 4th wide receiver, mocked at 27 to the Texans in Rob Rang's draft and 29th to the Patriots in Dane Brugler's. WalterFootball has a different take on it and has Austin falling all the way to the Bears at 50. Way back in December, the National Football Post's Russ Lande had him going at 21 to the Bengals - things have changed since then of course, but in the Post's current top 200 prospects, Austin sits at 18. And Draftek currently slots Austin at the 21st top prospect but falling to the Denver Broncos at 28.

Personally, I don't see him lasting to 50, so for me it's either a trade-down from the first or a trade up in the second to get him - are the Bears willing to make that move two years in a row? How about you - are you interested?