INDIANAPOLIS – The NFL Scouting Combine has its first bold claim.
It comes courtesy of West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin.
“I think I am the best all-around player in the draft,” said the 5-foot-8, 174-pounder.
Austin did put up big numbers for the Mountaineers as a senior, catching 114 passes for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns, rushing 72 times for 643 yards and three touchdowns and taking a punt return back for another score.
Austin also reached high when comparing himself to a pair of current NFL players.
“Percy Harvin, he’s somewhat similar to me. Wes Welker, he played for the same college coach in Dana Holgorsen and he’s teaching me some of the things he’s doing so I’ve seen a lot of the film on these guys,” he said.
Quarterbacks got their turn inside the media room Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Those interviewed know the expectations at the position have been raised after the success of the 2012 class.
“Those guys changed expectations for many quarterbacks, let alone rookies. Those guys stepped right in, including Russell Wilson, and were leaders most of all from day one,” said West Virginia’s Geno Smith, who’s been in the conversation to be the No. 1 overall draft pick. “That’s the one thing I took from it. No matter what age difference, where you come from or what pick you are when you’re taken for that role as a quarterback in the NFL, you have to lead by example. That’s the thing all those guys did.
“They set the bar very high. I want to be one of those guys that step in and do the same thing.”
USC’s Matt Barkley, who is not working out this week because of a shoulder injury, was asked about returning for a senior season that ended in disappointment with the Trojans going 7-6.
“I think there’s always something to prove. I think you’re always looking for ways to better yourself. At this point in my career, there’s definitely things I can improve on. There’s always something to improve,” he said. “It seems right now that I’m kind of working my way up as opposed to already being on the top, which is a position, I’ve been in both cases before. There’s always something to prove, and I’m out to prove something.
Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson confirmed he had met with the Bills on Thursday night, just as he did last month at the Senior Bowl.
Former Bills safety George Wilson signed with the Tennessee Titans on Friday.
Wilson, 31, served as a defensive captain for the Bills last season and was an NFL Players’ Association team representative.
He started all 16 games and finished second on the team with 104 tackles.
His release last week saved the team $2.925 million against the salary cap.
“George is a quality, veteran player,” Titans General Manager Ruston Webster said in a statement released by the team. “He will contribute for us on the field, but his contributions also will come off the field, in the locker room and in the meetings rooms.”
St. Francis graduate and new Jacksonville Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell talked about a painful memory in growing up a Bills fan.
“I still remember where I was when the kick went wide right,” he said. “I was at a party, and we just went outside and sat in the snow to numb the pain.”
Caldwell attended St. Francis with Tom Telesco, who was named the San Diego Chargers’ GM a day before the Jaguars hired Caldwell.
“We used to laugh about it back when we were scouting assistants: ‘Could you ever imagine being a general manager?’ ” Caldwell said. “And here we are about 17 years later.
“It’s a very unique situation. To come from that small town to another small town in Jacksonville, which has a very similar feel to Buffalo, where people are so welcoming and really love their city, it’s great.”