ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Rams’ two first-round picks got the star treatment Friday, arriving at the team complex in Rolls-Royces before an introductory news conference punctuated by applause from team employees who crowded into the auditorium.
Cathy Green, the mother of eighth overall pick Tavon Austin, says she stopped worrying about her speedy son getting injured a long time ago. Green had difficulty locating her son in a sea of big bodies when the draft picks invited to New York gathered for a photo, but reasoned that kids can get hurt riding a bicycle, too.
“It was something I knew he had a love for,” Green said. “You have to follow your kids’ dreams.”
The 5-9, 174-pound Austin, a wide receiver who totaled 17 touchdowns last year at West Virginia, prides himself in not missing a start in high school or college. Austin has sub-4.3 40-yard dash speed, can’t recall getting caught from behind and doesn’t worry about getting hurt.
“I’ve been small my whole life and it’s not going to change,” Austin said. “I’m 5-9, but in my heart I play like I’m 6 feet.”
His mom, a former high school sprinter, said Austin was impossible to chase down by the third or fourth grade.
“I would try to think of plans because I knew he was going to run,” Green said. “He would run and slide under the beds if he got there first.”
Alec Ogletree’s stock dropped several picks due to off-field problems at Georgia, and he’d been relieved to be drafted. The linebacker, taken with the 30th pick, has repeated thanked the Rams for choosing him.
His mom, Allyson Ogletree, said a tight-knit family has helped Ogletree get through various ordeals.
“I tell people when you meet him he does have that calm exterior, like nothing gets to him,” said his mother, Allyson Ogletree. “He’s really excited, although he may not show it.
“He’s really, really excited for the opportunity and he’s going to cherish it and make this city and our hometown, everyone, proud of him.”
Ogletree, who’ll fill a vacancy at outside linebacker, said he was ready for the challenge of chasing down NFC West quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson.
“I’m very comfortable in my ability to tackle somebody, run them down,” Ogletree said. “I feel like in-between the lines, nobody’s faster than me.”
Not even Austin?
After a long pause, Ogletree responded, “We’re on the same team now.”