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.
“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.