Smith, Austin Are Potential First Round Picks - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Smith, Austin Are Potential First Round Picks


The college football regular season is over, so those mock-draft guru's are sharpening their pencils and beginning to issue their predictions for the 2013 NFL draft.

West Virginia University landed a first round pick last year when the Seattle Seahawks chose Defensive End Bruce Irvin with No. 15 overall.

WVU stands a good chance of producing a pair of first round picks in April in Quarterback Geno Smith and All-Around talent Tavon Austin.

Rob Rang and Dane Brugler of both placed Smith as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. Rang slotted Tavon Austin as the last pick in the first round by the Houston Texans. Brugler had Austin a little higher going as the No. 29 overall pick by the New England Patriots.

The National Football Post's scouting department had a slightly different take on Smith and Austin. Smith is projected as the No. 9 overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals. Austin is slotted as the No. 22 overall pick by the Seattle Seahawks.

"As far as the picks go, that is for the GM's to decide," Smith said about the upcoming draft. "The one thing I do know is that whatever team ends up with me is going to be helping out their franchise."

Smith closed out the regular season completing 350 of 490 passes. In other words, he completed 71 percent of his passes. NFL coaches dream of having a quarterback do that. Smith passed for 4,004 yards and 40 touchdowns while throwing just six interceptions.

He can make all the throws, from the screen passes in the flat to the slant over the middle as well as the deep ball down the sideline.

"I'm a guy that is definitely going to be all for the team and I am going to put every ounce of what I got into winning games. That is the way I look at football games, no matter who gets the credit for it and what is done between the lines, it is about winning. As long as I continue to keep that mentality, I will continue to get better."

Smith holds countless records at WVU. His numbers will grow even more in the Pinstripe Bowl against Syracuse. Despite all of that, Smith admits he is going to improve even more over time.

"I have not reached my prime as far as my physical ability goes," Smith stated. "I am still blossoming as far as mentally as well."

Tavon Austin had a career to remember. His explosive style of play is unique and rare. He combines speed and agility to avoid tackles in tight spaces and make big plays. Austin is a touchdown threat every time he touches the ball.

"He has a gift," Offensive Coordinator Shannon Dawson said with a smile. "The best thing we can do is get him the ball as much as possible. All of that stuff you see him do, we don't do drills for that.  Obviously that is just god-given ability."

"The eyeball does not lie," Smith smiled. "There are some great players in the country, but that guy will make anyone miss anytime. He surprises me every day."

Austin showed NFL scouts just how versatile he is this season. There is Tavon Austin the receiver who caught 110 passes for 1,259 yards and 12 touchdowns. Tavon Austin the running back carried the ball 61 times for 632 yards and three touchdowns. Tavon Austin the punt returner had 15 punt returns for 165 yards and one touchdown. Then there is Tavon Austin the kick returner who returned 28 kickoffs for 738 yards and one touchdown. The only thing he did not do this year was throw the ball or kick it through the uprights.

"Genetically his body is made in such a way where he gets to full speed fast," Dawson said. "It's funny because he is short. Physiologically his legs are shorter so he shouldn't be as fast. He makes fast people look slow. "

Austin is not your typical NFL receiver. He stands just 5-foot-9 and weighs 174 pounds.

"Size doesn't matter, it's not basketball, it's football," Smith stated. "You put the ball in his hands and he will make it happen."

Neither player earned a trip to New York City for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. West Virginia's 7-5 overall record had a lot to do with that. However, one or both of them may find themselves in New York City in April for the NFL Draft.

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