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2013 NFL Mock Draft: New England Patriots nab Tavon Austin

Each week, I like to take a look at the New England Patriots selection in the 2013 NFL Draft that is posted on the main page. This week, the Patriots took one of my personal favorites, West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin, with the 29th pick. You can view the entire 2013 NFL Mock Draft on the main page right here.

Scouts said about a month ago that Tavon Austin reminds them of a mix between Percy Harvin and Dexter McCluster. People who think of Austin as a replacement for Wes Welker if the Pats are unable to sign Welker are expecting a little bit too much out of Austin. Welker was incredibly tough and had the unique ability to run perfect routes, get open against pretty much anyone (even if they were stronger or faster than him), and it’s pretty darn difficult to catch 118 passes in a season.

Austin would give the Patriots more playmaking ability in the slot, so he’s a poor-man’s version of Percy Harvin. Now the Pats could acquire Harvin, but the Harvin trade rumors are blown out of proportion. The Minnesota Vikings definitely aren’t just going to give him away, and it would take a very valuable sum of draft picks to lure him away from Minnesota. Not only that, but the Patriots would also have to give Harvin at least as much money as they would be giving Wes Welker- and for longer.

So Tavon Austin is the next best thing, and he has plenty of speed and agility to be a real weapon for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots offense. Austin isn’t durable or strong enough to do what Welker does in the middle of the field, but concerns about his strength can get a little bit exaggerated. Austin has a vast amount of playmaking talent, and he would fill a huge need in the slot should Welker not be retained.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: Football New England Patriots Tavon Austin West Virginia Mountaineers

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