Three short years ago defensive tackle Marvin Austin was selected by the Giants at pick #52 in the NFL Draft. The pundits lauded the pick. Austin was a stupendous steal in the second round. Never mind that Austin was dismissed from the North Carolina program in 2010 for ““violations of NCAA agent benefits, preferential treatment and ethical conduct rules”.
In February of 2011, Austin made the combine his plaything: he ran a 4.9 40-yard dash, bench pressed 38 reps of 225 lbs and broad jumped 112 inches. His physical talent was off the charts, and with a clean off-field resume he was a surefire first rounder.
The NFL.com player overview on Austin entering the draft process read like this:
Austin has first round talent, but he did not play football last season and there are concerns about his character and work ethic. He appears to be a prototypical 3-technique defensive tackle, as he is a big boy with outstanding athleticism. He has great feet and the lateral agility to move quickly down the line and make tackles on the edge. He uses his quick heavy hands to shed blocks and has the closing burst to make plays in the backfield. Austin’s off the field issues may prevent him from being a first round pick, but he could be a major steal in round two.
Unfortunately, a torn pectoral muscle in August cost Austin the entirety of his rookie season in 2011. He played just 103 snaps for the Giants in 2012 — notching 4 solo tackles and 2 QB hurries — as a nagging back injury cost him seven weeks smack in the middle of the year. By August of 2013, Austin was no longer a member of the New York Giants. From a highly promising rookie to waiver bait with little to no football impact in between.
Austin’s journey since departing East Rutherford:
- Signed by Miami in September of 2013
- Waived by Miami in October of 2013
- Signed by Dallas in October of 2013
- Waived by Dallas in November of 2013
- Signed by Denver in May of 2014
According to an Andrew Mason tidbit published on Predominantly Orange, a now 25-year old Marvin Austin is impressing during Broncos OTA workouts:
“But offseason pickup Marvin Austin could be the one who shuffles the deck. Talent has never been Austin’s problem; injuries have. He looks fast coming off the snap and helped set up the defensive ends to collapse the pocket. We’ll know more when full pads go on during training camp, but on Tuesday, Austin looked like he could flourish. As I watched Austin, I thought about where this position group was during the 2011 training camp, and how far it has come. One of the league’s worst, most depth-shy units has gradually become one of its best. If Austin emerges, there could be an excruciating cut coming — or he could be the insurance policy in case there’s another injury this summer.”
Offseason drills are a far cry from Sunday’s in September, and beat writers love to manufacture “team hope”… but perhaps the light has finally clicked on for Austin. Of course, he’ll need to prove his worth during real, live game action to make believers out of the NFL universe. In any case — keep it rolling, Marvin.