The New England Patriots top target in most 2013 NFL Mock Drafts is West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin, and the FanSided.com main page once again had Austin wisely going to the Patriots with the 29th pick in their 2013 NFL Mock Draft. Austin showed off his elite speed at the 2013 NFL Combine by putting up a 4.25 forty time, which quelled concerns over his long speed after some questionable tape in that regard in games against the Texas Longhorns and Kansas Jayhawks.
Austin is something between Wes Welker and Percy Harvin in the slot, and that’s something that would help the Patriots out quite a bit. I’ve always lauded Austin as being a great fit for the New England Patriots, but recent events regarding two veteran wide receivers on the team are making me devalue Austin from a Patriots perspective.
Wes Welker and the Patriots are closer to getting a long-term deal done, so that is obviously great news. One of the most appealing things about Tavon Austin is the fact that his ability in the slot would help mitigate the loss of Welker. Now that it sounds like Welker has a significantly better chance at sticking around, Austin might not be as necessary. Reports from the Boston Globe and CSNNE have surfaced stating that the Patriots will likely not pick-up Brandon Lloyd’s $3 million option, and the swing of balance from a need in the slot to a need on the outside (if the Pats do indeed drop Lloyd, which I am not willing to buy just yet) will likely be reflected in the Patriots draft strategy.
Austin is still the right pick for now and you can’t argue with that after his impressive performance at the Combine, but a guy like DeAndre Hopkins out of Clemson (picked before Austin to the St. Louis Rams at 22 in the FanSided mock) might become more appealing to the Pats.
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