In 2008, Chris Johnson came into the NFL Combine as a projected second to third round pick. He left Indianapolis as the talk of the NFL and went on to get drafted with the 24th overall pick by the Tennessee Titans. He shot up the draft boards after setting a record in the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.24 seconds. Going into this year’s Combine, many see Tavon Austin as the guy to watch. Could he pull off a Chris Johnson and turn the Combine upside-down?
ESPN Draft analyst Todd McShay recently said that Tavon Austin “could be the fastest human I’ve studied on tape.” If you are a Mountaineer or Big 12 fan, you know it is very difficult to track Austin down in the open field. His straight-line speed is phenomenal, and his ability to make defenders miss in space reminds us of a Bill Stewart quote about Austin: “He can make people miss in a telephone booth.”
Since the end of the Mountaineers’ season, Austin has prepared for the Combine in Florida. One of the players he has worked out with is Ike Taylor, cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Taylor recently said of Austin, “Whoever gets that guy, is getting a special player.”
While we expect Austin to light up the 40-yard dash, he could also set records in the agility drills, namely the 3-cone drill and shuttle run.
Currently, many see Austin as a late-first to second round pick. If Austin pulls off numbers in a similar vein to Johnson, while he might not climb into the Top 10, getting drafted in the Top 15 is a possibility. Remember how Bruce Irvin’s Combine performance boosted him into the first round last year?
If Austin pulls a Chris Johnson next week, he would likely see similar results.