Immediately after the 2011 NFL Draft, New York Giants fans began expressing their excitement about the team's second-round pick Marvin Austin. The general consensus was that Austin was a first-round talent, but because he was suspended for his entire senior season at North Carolina, he fell to the Giants in round two. However, Austin tore his pectoral muscle early on in training camp in 2011, which held him out of football for another season.
On the field, Austin has nice size for his position (6'2"/ 309lbs). He possesses elite athleticism and quickness, which often allows him to shoot the gap on run plays between the tackles. In college, Austin's strength allowed him to wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines, as he brought in 42 tackles in his final season at UNC, six of which came for a loss. Furthermore, Austin showed that even as a defensive tackle playing on the interior line, he has the ability to get to the quarterback on passing downs. He had four sacks in 2009.
That all being said, Austin does have a few areas in which he needs to improve. His technique as a defensive linemen needs work, as he has often been accused of letting offensive linemen get under his pads and force him to play up high. Lastly, in Austin's final year at UNC, he had the tendency to take a play off here and there, which raised serious questions about his motivation.
However, Marvin Austin clearly has the talent to become a great interior defensive linemen in the NFL. The question is whether he can come in and be productive after missing two full seasons. While speaking to Jorge Castillo of The Star-Ledger, Austin talked about how missing his rookie season may impact him in 2012.
"I don't think it's good at all. I want to benefit as much as I can. You can only control what you can control and me being able to control just staying healthy and just trying to get out there everyday and just getting better as much as I can. That's what I can control," he said.
It is more than likely that Marvin Austin is going to take a significant amount of time to become a productive player for Big Blue. It would be near impossible for him to miss two full seasons of football, and still have the ability to adjust to the speed of the NFL game, while learning the defense as well. With the team's depth at defensive tackle, there is little need to rush Austin back into meaningful situations. Doing so could potentially stunt his development, and ruin a once promising career. It will be essential for Austin to get significant playing time in preseason games this year. Hopefully, those will give the coaching staff a better idea of where he is as a player.
However, once Austin gets his feet under him, he has the potential to be a cornerstone on the Giants defensive line for the foreseeable future. Along with Linval Joseph, the Giants could potentially have a pair of lethal interior defensive linemen that will cause serious issues for offensive lines. Just don't expect it to happen right off the bat in 2012. With Joseph, Chris Canty and either Rocky Bernard or Shaun Rogers ahead of Austin on the depth chart, the Giants will have the luxury of giving him at least a full season to develop into the player many believe he has the ability to become.
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