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Miles Austin Returns Home
Photo - Cowboys' Miles Austin
Cowboys' wideout Miles Austin caught seven passes for 145 yards with one TD on Thanksgiving that was instrumental in the Dallas win over the Raiders. The Cowboys retain the lead in the NFC East entering their key divisional contest with the Giants at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. Austin returns home where he played both his HS and college football. He graduated from Monmouth University (N.J.) and incredibly went undrafted in the NFL Draft ’06. In the Thanksgiving game victory, he did almost all of his damage in the first half as he piled up 130 yards and his TD. He beat Nnamdi Asomugha for his first reception, but then the Cowboys attacked the more beatable Chris Johnson. After three straight poor offensive games, the Cowboys proved they can get Austin the ball in different alignments and away from double coverage. He finished wit 7 catches for 145 yards and 1 TD in another holiday victory for Dallas.
As a Monmouth University graduate, I make it a labor of love to scout alumni pro prospects. Incredibly, only a handful of NFL teams came to interview and watch game tape of Miles Austin. That explains why there are so many horrible NFL teams at the bottom of the standings this season. NFL front offices give great lip service about their scouting staffs, but the truth is that many front offices do a poor job scouting talent in general and many personnel departments are burdened with poor key decision makers and immense nepotism on both their college and pro staffs. See teams like Detroit, Tampa, Oakland, Cleveland, Washington, San Francisco, Seattle and Buffalo among others.
After his final season, Austin did not play in an All-star game during the ’06 postseason, but did participate in the NFL Combine. He had a very good overall workout including a sub 4.5 time and fine other times and numbers in all the drills. He did drop several passes in the vital receiving drills that hurt his final grade and probably cost him a late draft selection. He went undrafted in the NFL Draft 2006, but made the Dallas roster on potential and his fine kickoff return skills. He has turned into one of the best bargains in the entire player selection process and has emerged as the Cowboys go to receiver over this season since midseason. He could earn a berth on the NFC Pro Bowl roster with a strong final month.
Miles Austin Scouting Report in the Draft Insiders' Digest Yearbook ’06
Miles Austin #80 - 6’2” 215 lbs.- Monmouth University - Sp. 4.5 R:70
Strong physical receiver has displayed big play ability over the past three seasons at the Division I-AA level. Miles is a big physical receiver with fine athletic ability that drew national attention at the NFL Combine. He performed well at the combine, showing fine speed and leaping ability. He put up some awesome numbers at the Division I-AA level where he was a man amongst boys. He has big hands and moves well for a player of his dimensions. He has been a dominant performer at the Division I-AA, combining all the skills to compete for an NFL roster spot this summer. He is a physical athlete who gets off the line easily with good quickness and movement. He has a burst of deceptive speed to get deep and make the big play. He is fearless going over the middle and uses his strong frame to outmuscle defenders with fine leaping ability and the toughness to take a hit and hold on to the ball. As a senior, he caught 49 passes for 1004 yards for a very impressive 20 yard average per catch and 11 TDs while earning NEAC first team honors. As a junior, he made 47 receptions for 859 yards for an 18.3 yard average and 9 TDs with similar stats as a sophomore when he totaled 44 receptions for 796 yards for an 18.1 yard average and 12 TDs. Over his career, he caught 150 passes for over 2800 yards and 33 TDs with 32 of those scores coming over his final three seasons. He averaged almost 19 yards per catch for those three seasons among the best for receivers from any level. He is an intriguing prospect who displays fine hands and will make the difficult catch over the middle and hang on to the ball. He has the physical ability to go up and make a play on the ball with the power to run after the catch. He has surprisingly good cutting skills that make defenders miss, though he mainly runs through tacklers to make the big play. He is very good on the fade pass where his height and leaping skills make him a difficult matchup. He has above average movement skills and the sure hands to develop into a good possession receiver as a pro. He provides his passer a big target with the long arms and hands to naturally snatch the ball in front of him. As a route runner, he has improved nicely with experience, but needs refinement especially in his footwork at the breakpoint to get open. That is the one area of concern, can he separate vs. NFL caliber cover men. He is a solid possession receiver for the next level with good functional strength that allows him to get off the jam, but he needs work on getting in and out of his cuts faster. He has adequate speed to separate and get open regularly, but only average long speed to break the big play and can struggle separating in the deep game. He is a tough, competitive performer with good field awareness to be a factor in an offense. He could compete for a #3 WR spot at some point in his career and possibly a starting job at some time. At the combine, he ran a 4.49 time with a 40.5” VJ, a 10’3” BJ and did 21 reps in the lifting and performed very well in the agility drills. He checked in at 215 lbs. after playing at just above 225 lbs. over his career. In the passing drills at the combine, he dropped a few passes that can happen with a small college performer. Over his career, he displayed consistently fine hands to catch the ball away from his body. Tough possession receiver with talent, good speed and the sure hands to be a surprise with development. Sleeper with upside if he develops his route running and proves he can get separate vs. quick NFL caliber cover men.