MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — While Rams receivers coach Ray Sherman loved what he saw of Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey on film, what he witnessed in person cemented his feeling they could be NFL contributors as rookies.

“When I had a chance at the combine to sit down and talk with them, you can see that they both have a passion about playing the game,” Sherman said. “I don’t think it will be hard for either one of them to grasp (the offense).”

Speaking with MetroNews Statewide “SportsLine” on Wednesday night, Sherman said he was thrilled St. Louis aggressively traded up to select Austin with the No. 8 overall pick. He wasn’t sure how long Bailey would remain available, but there sat the other West Virginia receiver when the Rams made their third-round selection at No. 92.

Joe Sadlek/All-Pro Photography

Stedman Bailey, who led the nation with 25 touchdown catches in 2012, projects as an outside receiver with the Rams.

“I watched just about every game with (Bailey), even going back to the year before, and I saw this guy had some big-play capability,” Sherman said. “We were just hoping that nobody else saw what we saw.”

The oddity of an NFL team selecting college teammates, at the same position no less, wasn’t lost on Sherman, though in this case he liked their familiarity “because I know the way they push one another.”

He predicted both players are capable of helping the Rams’ offense immediately, with Bailey lining up primarily on the outside and sometimes shifting to the slot.

As for Austin, where won’t he line up? Sherman said the 5-foot-8 dynamo could be on the field in three-, four- and five-wide sets, and even in two-tight end formations.

Just don’t ask Sherman to compare Austin to other players he has coached during his 23-year NFL career, because there are no comparisons. “I have never seen a young man as explosive as him. I haven’t seen anybody that has the skills of this guy. He’s different. He’s in class of his own.”

You can watch the complete “SportsLine” interview above.

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  • Deeanna Payne

    When the Rams played the Cards here a the stadium in Glendale I Loved to watch Mark Bulger, my Mountaineer Man, now I get to see two more former Mountaineers play!!! I can't hardly wait!! When Tavon gets the ball Lord have mercy!!!!!! When Stedman catches the ball Larry Fitzgerald will have to watch!!

  • Helen5844

    Really enjoy hearing about Tavon and Stedman. I hope they both do extremely well and stay healthy. Rams in the superbowl!!! Mountaineers win the Big 12. LETS GOOOOOO MOUNTAINEERS.

    • Daw cute

      Lol the only major sport mountaineers will win the big 12 in this year will be baseball.

  • Toni

    Looking forward to watching these 2 have great NFL careers. They are truly "awesome" players (that one's for you Tavon!), and are very humble unlike alot of players. Keep strong and remember where you came gave your all to WVU, now take it to the NFL!!! Your fans know you can do it!!

  • cutty77

    Their will never be another player like Tavon ever at WVU. He will be Offense Rookie of The year in The NFL. Fans better get all of his WVU Highlights while you can. In 2011 he lead the Nation in All Purpose yards also. Steadman will fit right in too. Good to both of you,and Thanks for The memories.

    • Kevin

      Geez, can a brother get some spell check??

    • Toni

      Agreed cutty77!!!! Nothing like seeing them in person explode on the field!!!

  • George

    I am starting to look for a Rams #11 Jersey with Tevon Austin on the back. I may buy 2, would be #12 for Stedman Bailey. And as much as I like Geno, I'll never buy Jets jersey.

    • Toni

      Except that it's "Tavon".....with an "a". Oh, and the last name at WVU was "AWESOME"!!!! Which he will be for the Rams!!!! Keep strong guys!

  • Matt

    So happy for my fellow Mountaineers. I already got my Austin #11 and will be a die Hard Rams fan this year. Greatest show on Turf 2!!!

  • richard

    i agree. baily was a steal.....maybe the steal of the draft. he will do well in the NFL. good luck to both.

  • Todd

    Stay hungry my mountaineer friends and you will go far. Good luck to u both

    • Habib Haddad

      Thank you, the most interesting Todd in the world. -Stedman and Tavon

      • Wemakerain

        Took the joke right out of my mouth, well played sir

  • Grant

    Stedman was the steal of the draft.