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Ravens, Tavon Austin had combine meeting

FootballBaltimore RavensNFLWest Virginia MountaineersAnquan BoldinNFL Network (tv network)

The Ravens conducted a weekend meeting at the NFL scouting combine with former West Virginia and Dunbar star Tavon Austin, according to a league source.

Austin is an intriguing prospect who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds officially after an initial unofficial time of 4.25 seconds.

Although undersized at 5 feet 8, 174 pounds, Austin's moves and acceleration are rare.

"I’ve been a little guy my whole life," Austin said. "I’m a little guy, but I play big."

Could the Ravens use an all-purpose standout like Austin? Definitely, because he's a matchup nightmare, but so could a lot of NFL teams.

It's unclear if Austin would be available for the Ravens' 32nd overall pick of the first round since he was so productive for the Mountaineers and had such a strong combine.

One scenario that could make Austin a potential target for the Ravens is if veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin became a salary-cap casualty because of his $7.531 million cap figure and $6 million base salary. The Ravens have made it clear that they intend to retain Boldin. At some point, they may want to restructure his contract, though.

Against Oklahoma last season, Austin generated 572 all-purpose yards as he rushed for 344 yards and two touchdowns, caught four passes for 82 yards and gained 146 yards on eight kick returns.

"Tavon is incredible," said Oklahoma safety Tony Jefferson. "He's the best player I've ever played against. I expected him to run fast."

Austin caught 288 career passes in college for 3,413 yards and 29 touchdowns, also rushing for 1,033 yards and six touchdowns.

"I expected him to run fast," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said of Austin. "What it does for him is worst-case is he's a second-round pick. If you buy into him as a route-runner and his toughness and that you can get enough touches every game for him, he might be a first-round pick. The NFL has evolved into more and more of a college look: Spread the field, get the football in playmakers' hands.

"He's a playmaker, he's a mismatch. I can only imagine being a nickel back or a safety and having to line up across from him in the slot knowing he runs 4.35, knowing how quick he is. He's really a difficult matchup. All that time does is endorse what we thought of him on tape."

awilson@baltsun.com

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FootballBaltimore RavensNFLWest Virginia MountaineersAnquan BoldinNFL Network (tv network)
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