Denver Broncos defensive tackle Marvin Austin was a second round draft pick with a ton of potential, but has failed to live up to those expectations. Does that story sound familiar Broncos’ fans? It does to me, it sounds a lot like the story we all heard about Terrance Knighton after he signed with the Broncos last year.
Knighton, as many of you remember, was considered a bust with the Jacksonville Jaguars and his signing wasn’t met with a lot of excitement in Denver. We all know how that turned out; Knighton had a breakout season and is now one of the most important players on the defensive side of the ball.
Austin was a second round pick of the New York Giants out of North Carolina who also spent time with the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys. His career has been a disappointment and that’s being kind. Austin has underachieved and his work ethic has often been called into question; the very two things that were said about Knighton a year ago at this time.
As I wrote yesterday, the defensive line for the Broncos is talented and deep. Defensive Line is Talented and Deep for the Denver Broncos.
Because of that, Austin will have to play extremely well even to make the team but the early returns are promising, He has been impressive through the offseason and turned in his best day of practice on Saturday, the first in full pads.
Reports from training camp on Saturday morning indicated that Austin was consistently beating blockers and making plays in the backfield. It’s only one day and he will have to perform at that level throughout camp, but Austin has always had the ability. Is this finally the season where his work ethic finally meets his talent?
The Broncos are probably the last shot for Austin, and sometimes that’s what it takes. I can’t speak for the other teams that Austin played for but he will be held accountable in Denver; if he’s dogging it or not giving it his full effort, he will be called out and it might be by Knighton.
The Broncos feature Knighton, Sylvester Williams and Kevin Vickerson at the top of the defensive tackle rotation but you cannot be too deep at that spot. The more players the Broncos can rotate at the spot, the better the defense will be.
Today’s offenses are designed to go fast and wear the front seven of a defense down. However if a defense can rotate four defensive tackles and not experience much of a drop off, then that neutralizes some of that advantage.
The Broncos signed a lot of big names in free agency and to many Austin was an afterthought. That maybe true but many thought Knighton was an afterthought in the wake of the Broncos signing Wes Welker and Louis Vazquez.
The Broncos are giving Austin a chance, maybe his last chance, and so far he’s taking advantage of it. Who knows, maybe next year at this time we’ll be talking about someone who is trying to be the next Austin.