With training camp finally here, Cowboys Nation will get their first real look at newly-acquired web-back, Tavon Austin. Austin was acquired from the Rams on draft day for a sixth-round pick. In the trade the Cowboys got a 28-year old playmaker who can operate at both wide receiver and running back.
Austin is a guy whose role has yet to be determined in the Cowboys offense. Is he a running back? Is he a receiver? According to Tavon Austin, he’s a playmaker, and that’s just what the Cowboys need.
“At the end of the day, I’m a playmaker,” Austin said. “That’s how I describe myself. I don’t really care where I’m at on the field. I just want the ball and a little bit of space and let me create and I’m going from there...
”An athlete who creates, the thing I did my whole life. I’m cool with it, running back, receiver, punt returner, it really doesn’t make a difference to me. I just definitely want my opportunity to get the ball in my hands and get a little bit of space and do what I do best.”
The Cowboys need the most help at receiver, and he can certainly provide that out of the slot. But where Tavon Austin could make his biggest impact is byh running the football. Last season with the Rams, Austin had significantly more rushing attempts (59) that he did receptions (13). In his five year career, Austin has only had more receptions than rushes twice (2013 and 2016). Austin has been known to be a guy who can do either/or, and he’s been successful doing both. Since entering the league in 2013, Austin stats look like this:
- 184 rushing attempts
- 1,238 yards (6.7 YPC)
- nine touchdowns
- 194 receptions
- 1,689 yards (8.7 YPR)
- 12 touchdowns
As you can see, these numbers are very similar and shows he’s able to produce at whatever position he is deployed at when given the opportunity. Of course, the Cowboys would like to see those numbers increase in both aspects of his game. The former eighth overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, has yet to live up to the expectations that many placed on him coming out of West Virginia. Austin has always been known for his dynamic return ability, and the ability to make a couple of big plays on offense throughout a game.
Tavon Austin's lone touchdown of the 2017 season came out of the backfield. What I came away with after watching 7-8 of Tavon Austin's game is he's a "scat-back". He doesn't bring much to the table as a true receiver, but can be effective as east-west runner.#Cowboys pic.twitter.com/22Q6k0TbaZ— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) May 17, 2018
With training camp starting this week, we will all finally see what the Cowboys have in mind for using Austin. It’s easy to say that he’ll play the role that Ryan Switzer played last season for the Cowboys, but that would be somewhat a disappointment if that’s all Tavon Austin brings to the table in 2018. There’s no question that Austin will likely be the teams punt returner, but after that it’s kind of up in the air how much playing time Austin will get and at what positions he will be featured at most.
How do you hope the Cowboys deploy Tavon Austin in their offense?