Packers New Weapon: Tavon Austin

Tavon Austin became an internet sensation after his 11-minute highlight film surfaced on youtube in 2008.

In one of the greatest mixtapes of all-time, #9 for Dunbar High School — Tavon Austin — shows lighting-fast speed and incredible quickness that can only be outdone by his Deion Sanders-esque swag.

Austin continued to build his legend at West Virginia. From 2009-2012, Austin emassed 398 plays from scrimmage for 4,446 yards and 35 touchdowns, including 186 touches for 1,932 yards and 15 touchdowns in his senior season.

After being drafted 8th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams, Austin fell short of the high expectations that come with being a top-10 pick in the NFL, but he did show some flashes of production. His best year came in 2015, when he had 104 touches for 907 yards and 9 touchdowns for the Rams. But in his other six years in the NFL he only generated 2,439 yards and 16 touchdowns. Even more worrisome, he fumbled 20 times during those six years, while he only fumbled twice during his 2015 breakout campaign.

Austin has only appeared in 21 games in the past three years due to numerous injuries, but the 30-year-old is healthy and ready to contribute in Green Bay.

Austin is not going to jump Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Equanimeous St. Brown for snaps immediately, but Austin will immediately take over the majority of return duties — Darrius Shepherd’s underdog story came to a sad end after a couple dismal weeks in a row.

Austin’s skills from his mixtape translated to the NFL with a return touchdown in each of his first three seasons with the Rams. Also, while playing for the Cowboys in the 2018 NFC Wild Card he had five punt-returns for 73 yards.

Even at 30-years-old, Austin will immediately be the best returner that the Packers have had since Desmond Howard. And no Packer Fan will ever forget the importance of a dynamic return game in the playoffs after Howard’s MVP performance in the Super Bowl.

As Austin proves himself healthy in his return role, Aaron Rodgers mentioned on the Pat Mcafee Show that he also may gain some traction in the motion role in the offense.

Matt Lafleur’s offense is complex, and Rodgers needs everyone on the field in unison, so understanding the playbook in a short amount of time will be a huge obstacle for Austin.

It is worth noting that Austin spent time in Sean Mcvay’s offense in 2017 — with Lafleur — and Kyle Shanahan’s offense earlier this year before getting injured. Both are very familiar with Matt Lafleur’s offense, and Austin mentioned in his media session that he sees similarities so his acclimation to the scheme should go smoothly.

The Austin acquisition mirrors the Tyler Ervin acquisition from last year, and I expect Austin to carve out a role if he is able to be successful like Ervin was.

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Kirien is a big fan of the Packers, Beer, and Battlestar Galactica. You can follow him on twitter at @KirienSprecher.

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