Just a note.
It's easy to draft starters when you have lots of holes. What's harder is to draft starters when you don't have a lot of holes. When your team is stacked from top to bottom, draft picks either produce or get cut.
At Monmouth, Austin became the school's all-time leader in receiving yards, catches and receiving touchdowns and was a three-time All-NEC selection. But, like Mucha, Callahan told pro scouts Austin's best years were ahead of him.
"He was invited to the combine and put up very good numbers for kind of an unheard-of guy. He was basically in the top group in every one of the measurable categories," Callahan says. "We thought he'd be drafted in maybe the fifth, sixth round. But I guess there are safer picks out there. It's a lot easier if you're in a war room to say 'take the second-best receiver from a school in the SEC or the Pac 10.'"
All 32 teams passed and, although the Jets were interested in signing Austin as a free agent, no one showed more interest than the Cowboys, who were tipped off to Austin by scout Jim Garrett, who lived next door to the campus in Monmouth Beach. Garrett, the father of Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, worked with Austin at his Jersey shore house and had long been touting him at organizational meetings. The clincher came with a phone call from then-Cowboys coach Bill Parcells.
"He was a Jersey guy. He had stories. I'm a Jersey guy through and through. It made the transition all that more comfortable," Austin says. "He told me he'd give me a fair shot. He told me I was a little raw but if I put in a lot of hard work and played special teams, I'd be able to grow as a wide receiver."
Total AFCE picks in the last four years;
Pats - 40
Bills - 35
Mia - 32
Jets - 23
With so few picks it's amazing the Jets aren't in the cellar. At some point they'll need to start building a sturdy team through the draft and stop trading those picks so they can chase rainbows.