Tavon Austin, WR/PR, Dallas Cowboys
One area the Browns have struggled in lately has been the return game. Jabrill Peppers was supposed to fix that issue, but he hasn’t and in all honesty, it’s probably time to stop trying with him. This is no knock on Peppers, but actually a compliment. He’s become a strong player on the Cleveland defense and took strides in 2018 with his ability as a strong safety.
Bringing in a player who can take the special teams burden off him wouldn’t be the worst idea. It could allow Peppers to focus more on the job that matters most — and if they land a good return man, it could help the team get better there as well. Enter Tavon Austin, currently of the Dallas Cowboys.
Austin carries around the label of being a draft bust, which is true. He was selected way too high by the St. Louis Rams, but Cleveland has already seen that just because a player was a bust elsewhere, doesn’t mean he has no worth. Both Greg Robinson and Breshad Perriman played well for the Browns this season despite being busts for the teams who selected them.
Cleveland didn’t select Austin, so they wouldn’t have first-round aspirations for him. They would just be landing a guy with elite speed who can excel as a punt returner. He proved that this past week when he ran back a punt for 51 yards for the Dallas Cowboys in their playoff win over Seattle. He had another punt return for a touchdown called back — but showed off his wheels nonetheless on that return.
What made that most impressive was it was only his second game back after missing nine weeks due to a groin injury. Austin may never live up to his draft status, but he can flip a field in a hurry.