I’m not at the East/West Shrine Game in Orlando this weekend, but plenty of top drafniks are and they all seem to love Marvin Austin (my 6th-rated DT as of right now). Here’s bits and pieces of what they had to say (click the links for their full reports):
Tony Pauline – DraftInsider.net - ”[S]tarted off dominant and was unstoppable. Beat opponents with power, quickness and speed. They resorted to double teaming and holding him in scrimmage. Did wear down a bit late but definitely on the rise.”
Aaron Aloysius – DraftBreakdown – “[D]id well for himself by showing up at a solid 312 lbs. He didn’t look slow or out of shape in practice, where the big man made a sizable impact. In 11 on 11s, Austin quickly disengaged from a block before making a nice stop. And on a passing play, he managed to get his hands up and deflect a Ricky Dobbs pass
Wes Bunting – National Football Post - “[C]ertainly looks the part. He showed up in shape, carried his weight very well and has the kind of natural lower body girth/mass you look for in an interior lineman. He was also very well put together in the upper body and you can tell he has been working hard
Chad Reuter – CBS Sports – “[S]tarted off strong in one-on-one drills. He flashed quick hands and feet to bull-rush or run around mid-tier prospects such as Missouri State guard David Arkin… Though it was a solid practice, scouts might want to see more to consider Austin a top-50 prospect, especially considering he was so highly touted as a prep and expectations were through the roof entering the season.”
These positive reports are great news for Austin, who is a fringe 1st-round prospect in my opinion. There’s no denying his potential, but he had an up-and-down career at North Carolina before being suspended for the entire 2010 season. A solid senior year would have boosted his stock into the 1st round, possibly into the top 10, but he never got that opportunity. As a result, his offseason workouts are his only hope to convince scouts that he is a legitimate top talent.
Perhaps the best news from the reports is that he showed up in excellent condition. Spending a year away from football can be devastating to a player’s conditioning. The fact that he maintained his physical condition without having mandatory workouts as part of a collegiate football program speaks volumes about his work ethic.
At this point I’m still projecting him as a 2nd-round or 3rd-round pick, but he is definitely building momentum towards entering the 1st-round discussion.