By Dan Pizzuta
As a rookie coming out of West Virginia, Tavon Austin was seen as a versatile playmaker on offense who could be a scoring threat in any type of scheme. His dynamic speed and ability was expected to translate to early success in the NFL. Unfortunately, success wasn’t found often in his rookie season.
For the 2013 season, Austin played in 13 games, started only three, and totaled 40 receptions for 418 yards and 4 touchdowns. Those total numbers aren’t terrible for a rookie receiver, but they look much worse after realizing 138 of those yards came on two receptions in Week 10 against the Indianapolis Colts. In 10 of the games Austin appeared in, he had less than 40 receiving yards. In the two other games, Austin had 41 and 47 yards, which came in Weeks 1 and 2.
The advanced metrics are even more bearish on the receiver’s season. According to our Net Expected Points (NEP) numbers, Austin had a 30.69 Reception NEP last year. That placed him between T.J. Graham, who had just 26 receptions for the Buffalo Bills, and Greg Little, who might have been the NFL’s worst receiver. That’s not company any receiver wants to be in, let alone one taken with the eighth overall pick in that season’s draft.
So why did any of this happen?