With the legal tampering window officially underway, the Baltimore Ravens will be looking to bolster their offensive firepower. One name that has come up is Los Angeles Rams receiver Tavon Austin, who has reportedly drawn interest from the Ravens. It is a possibility that he could be a cap casualty or be traded, as the Rams are looking shed his salary.
The former 2013 eighth overall pick hasn’t lived up to expectations with the Rams, only totaling 194 receptions, for 1,689 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns, over the course of five seasons. On the other side of things, he does provide an option out of the backfield as well. Austin, 26, has 184 rushes, for 1,238 rushing yards and nine touchdowns in his career.
With that being said, he could provide a fit in Baltimore’s offense, albeit an odd one. Austin is statistically and talent-wise an upgrade from Michael Campanaro, so he would be taking his place in the offense. Campanaro, 27, hasn’t been able to stay on the field, but has shown flashes of being a difference-maker when healthy. Placing Austin in Baltimore’s offense, he would be able to show Baltimore what they were missing in terms of a healthy slot receiver.
The biggest key for Baltimore to maximize Austin’s talent is to surround him with bigger targets. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has never really had a large, talented receiver with a big catch radius. Though Anquan Boldin was strong and had a strong catch radius, he wasn’t very tall. The key was that Baltimore had receivers with differing traits, all which attacked a different part of the field.
Surrounding Boldin was Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and Dennis Pitta, all of which had key plays in Baltimore’s Super Bowl run in 2013. Smith and Jones could stretch the field, blowing the cover off of a defense. Pitta worked the middle of the field against the linebackers.
What Austin isn’t is a number one receiver. He may not even be a number two receiver, but he does provide the type of slot receiver that Baltimore’s offense could use. His abilities provide a supplement to whatever move that they make in the draft or free agency, receiving-wise. If Baltimore were able to add Donte Moncrief and Austin, then they’d be cooking with flames.
Moncrief, 24, stands in at 6’2, 220 lbs. He has the ability to blow the top off of a defense and grab 50/50 passes. Moncrief’s best season came in 2015, where he caught 64 passes, for 733 yards and six touchdowns. He isn’t a number one receiver either, but in a tandem with Austin, they provide a threat. Using both their skill sets, as well as drafting a receiver and tight end or two, Baltimore would have a better offense on paper than in 2017.