Originally Posted by Patriot Missile
That's a rather large drop off in talent.
If the Pats are going to let Welker walk,Austin itote rookie I'd feel most comfortable having the torch passed to.
I like Austin although there some things I'm not convinced of (runs out of bounds a lot
which I really don't like, would like to see him get separation by actually beating a defender rather than getting open due to scheme).
But I'm just really impressed by Sanders' receiving skills: he catches with his hands, get's instant separation by out-cutting the defender and there's a bunch of little things which tell me he takes to coaching really well. I also like his toughness compared to Austin.
The big potential red flag is Sanders' size and speed. The guy looks tiny, significantly smaller than Austin and I'm not convinced by his long-speed although there is no question about his short area quickness and cutting ability which is a match for Austin's.
I like Austin as a playmaker in a hybrid Edelman/Woodhead mode. But I much prefer
Sanders purely on his WR skills. Austin may be a better short-term answer but I honestly believe that, assuming he measures and tests OK at the Combine, that Sanders would be a better Welker replacement in our offense. Maybe not in year one, but certainly in year two and onwards.
And I do prefer the value of first round pick + Sanders over Austin + day three pick.
Edit: Found the following scouting reports which back up what I'm saying:
Overall route running ability a plus to his game, makes deliberate and sharp cuts
Runs defenders off on comeback routes with superb timing and footwork
Handful for defenders in man coverage with quickness and change of speed ability
Tracks the ball naturally as a pass-catcher with ability to catch the ball over his shoulder, has even shown that as a punt returner
Not as much experience from the slot as preferred, lined up on the boundary frequently
Used exclusively in the slot as a receiver with a very limited route tree
Struggles to fight through contact from man coverage corners and linebackers
Acceleration off the snap and out of breaks mostly non-evident, limits ability to separate from defenders in man coverage
Shows savvy to feel space and find gaps for his quarterback against zone coverage
Just my two-pennies :-)