Anybody who has even seen a quick clip of Tavon Austin’s highlight reel knows that the kid is straight lightning. He has made a career of out-running and out-juking every player on the field.
At the NFL combine this weekend, he showed that he is likely to contiue out-pacing everybody on the field even at the NFL level. In a hand-timed (unofficial) 40-yard dash, Austin clocked in at 4.25 seconds.
That is a mere 0.01 seconds off of Tennessee Titans speedster Chris Johnson’s combine record of 4.24 seconds.
Austin’s blazing speed at the combine is likely to vault his draft stock from early 2nd/late 1st round to middle of the 1st round or higher. Many scouts have begun to compare Tavon’s incredible quickness and shifty running style to that of a Percy Harvin-Wes Welker hybrid. That moniker alone should be enough to make NFL teams bend over backwards to draft the highly coveted weapon.
Austin also completed the bench press portion of the combine, notching 14 reps at 225-lbs. That is not near the top of the wide receiver group, but when you consider the fact that he is just 5’8″ 174 lbs, that is a really strong performance for someone so small.
Finishing just off of Austin’s pace was fellow Mountaineers teammate Stedman Bailey.
Bailey finished the 40-yard dash with a respectable 4.50 time, typical of possession receivers speed in the NFL. Unfortunately for Bailey, that time was the 3rd slowest amongst participants. He also registered 11 reps in the bench press, good enough for 17th amongst wide receiver prospects.
Bailey was regarded as a middle round prospect coming into the NFL combine, but it would seem that his early start to the combine may put his draft stock in jeopardy of sliding towards the 4th and 5th round region.
There is still plenty of time for Bailey to show NFL scouts why he was nominated for (and should have won) the Biletnikoff Award this past season at WVU. He will need to have strong outings in the vertical and broad jumps as well as the 3-cone drill and the 20-yard and 60-yard shuttles to show scouts that he is a complete prospect.
Like-wise, should Austin finish his combine with even more impressive performances, he could elevate himself into the top half of the first round of April’s draft and perhas overtake California’s Keenan Allen as the top wide receiver prospect.
You can tune into NFL Network today to catch the remaining events for the wide receivers and cheer on Austin and Bailey as they pursue their NFL dreams.