Packers: Tavon Austin can help fix the struggling return game

Tavon Austin - Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Tavon Austin - Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

The Packers are working out WR Tavon Austin.

The Green Bay Packers look to be finding depth at the returner position with Tyler Ervin still injured.

Per ESPN’s Field Yates, the team is working out former St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin.

Austin, who last made an impact in the NFL with St. Louis back in 2013, hasn’t seen significant playing time since. His last stint came in Dallas last season, where he caught a total of 13 passes for 177 yards and one touchdown.

In his seven-year career, he’s caught a total of 215 passes for 2,006 yards and 15 touchdowns, good for an average of 9.3 YP/R. Nabbing Austin would significantly improve the return game for Green Bay as their current return man Darrius Shepherd fumbled the ball in the team’s last contest against Indianapolis, nearly costing them the game in the process.

Austin would be a significant upgrade from Shepherd and would dramatically improve both the return game and offense as a whole. He would be an excellent gadget guy for them just as Tyler Ervin is when healthy. Until Ervin returns from injury, Green Bay should definitely look long and hard at getting him.

Since Ervin’s injury, the Packers’ return game hasn’t been much improved. They are only averaging three yards more per return (20.3 YPR vs. 17.3 YPR), with Shepherd rather than Ervin.

Austin, since 2013, has averaged 18.04 yards per return on 25 total returns for 451 yards. On punt returns, he’s averaged 7.95 yards per return on 185 total returns for 1,470 yards, and three touchdowns.

Austin may not be the flashiest wide receiver, but he has proven to make an impact in the return game, which is exactly what Green Bay is looking for. With Ervin still injured, it would definitely make sense for them to bring in a player like Austin. He would provide them with an above-average return man while also giving them a good gadget guy on offense.