Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tavon Austin wants to be quicker, faster Wes Welker


Tavon Austin wants to be just like Wes Welker. He just might need to be.

Austin has been following Welker since he was a teenager, and he could end up following him right onto New England’s roster. Whether Welker is still there when he gets there, however, is still up in the air.

“Wes Welker, that’s the No. 1 guy,” Austin told D.J. Bean of “I see how Wes does it, I watch a lot of tape of him, and I think I move a little quicker and faster than Wes, so if he can do it, I know I can do it too.”

Austin’s certainly confident, and for good reason. In his final year with West Virginia, he compiled more than 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns and is currently near, if not at, the top of most rankings of wide receivers in this year’s draft. Austin even went so far as to call himself “the all-around best player in the draft” on Friday.

If the Pats lose Welker to free agency, they’ll certainly need someone like Austin to fill his shoes. The franchise tag price for Welker would be just north of $11 million, a price New England will have a hard time paying the 31-year-old. Welker’s age also makes it tough to sign him to an extended contract, which leaves the two sides in a tough position.

Austin could conceivably become a Patriot even if New England does work out a deal with Welker, as the team’s wide receiver squad is markedly older than most. Welker, Deion Branch and Brandon Lloyd have 30 years of experience among the three of them.

Austin is similar to Welker’s build, a 5-foot-8 speedster weighing in around 175 pounds. According to Bean, Austin is hoping to clock in around 4.2 for his 40-yard time. Austin is projected to go in the first round of the draft, with the Patriots holding the 29th overall pick.

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