49ers Host Tavon Austin

The 49ers are bringing in veteran receiver Tavon Austin for a visit, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). The team hopes to finalize a contract with the speedster.

Austin, 30, was selected by the Rams with the ninth overall pick of the 2013 draft. The club could not resist Austin’s playmaking ability as a receiver, rusher, and returner, and while he has certainly had his moments of explosiveness, injuries have also dogged him throughout his career.

Over his seven years in the league, Austin has caught 215 passes and has averaged less than 10 yards per reception, which is disappointing for a player with his speed. The two years he spent in Dallas from 2018-19 saw him average over 15 yards per catch, but he was limited to seven games in 2018 and totaled just 21 receptions during his time with the Cowboys.

However, the Rams utilized him as a ball carrier much more than the Cowboys did, and he does boast a strong 6.8 yard-per-carry average. And that’s to say nothing of his return experience. While he has not returned more than three kickoffs in a season since his rookie campaign, he has returned 185 punts in his career, with a career return average of 7.9 yards to go along with three house calls.

If anyone can get the most out of Austin’s ability, it’s 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. With Marquise Goodwin and Travis Benjamin out of the picture, Shanahan could use some speed in his WR depth chart, and the team could also benefit from an experienced punt returner given Richie James‘ injury concerns.

Austin has earned nearly $40MM in his career, but his next contract may not be for much more than the veteran minimum.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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7 comments on “49ers Host Tavon Austin

  1. meisterkhan

    Always thought he would make a better change of pace back than a receiver. He was dynamic at WVU. Still kudos on hanging in the league this long!

  2. Ak185

    Austin is certainly explosive, but using him on traditional deep routes is not as suitable to his skill set as crosses or drags or something else underneath where he can catch and run. Of course, with his size Austin has experienced his share of injuries, but the 9ers’ offense is pretty well suited to smaller, agile receivers like Austin. It’s what most of their WR corps as is, and has been since Shanahan took over.

    Garrappolo is no noodle arm, but we haven’t seen him take an especially large number of deep shots. A fly route DeSean Jackson type doesn’t benefit him as much as an agile receiver would (and neither benefits him specifically as much as a good big receiver would, given Garrappolo’s willingness to trust his receivers to make plays on the ball, and for some odd reason San Fran keeps avoiding that type of receiver).

    • wagner13

      That’s probably why they discarded Goodwin. He’s got similar speed, but he’s more of a deep threat. Austin will probably be used in a similar fashion to Taylor Gabriel when Shanahan coached in Atlanta.

      You mentioned Jimmy prefers receivers that can make plays after the catch. That explains their selection of Aiyuk, as he’s an athletic specimen capable of eluding defenders with the ball in his hands

      • Ak185

        Oh, I agree with all that. But Jimmy G also likes to give his receivers a chance on contested catches, which accounts for many of his interceptions. I have always wondered what San Fran’s aversion is to adding a large receiver to handle those types of plays. Shanahan does not seem to like deviating from a certain physical type at skill positions-all of the 9ers’ backs and receivers have similar skill sets, which makes plug-and-play easier, but hardly offers a diverse set of capabilities. I think Austin suits them, but I can’t help but want to see them get Garrappolo a good possession target and diversify the playbook just slightly to take advantage of a couple of things Garrappolo might prefer, like giving that hypothetical receiver a chance on a few plays. Just me though.

  3. mrshyguy99

    is austin the best player out there noo. but does he have talent yes. i think the way kyle offense works . i think a guy like austin would fit perfect. he can be use in the slot and use as a RB if needed.

    • earmbrister

      From this Cowboys’ fan’s perspective, take my wife AND Austin please. Austin is no better than a #5 receiver.

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