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Tavon Austin signs rookie contract with St. Louis Rams

Somewhere far away, Sam Bradford is smiling.

Rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin signed with the St. Louis Rams on Thursday, the team announced. Terms of the deal were undisclosed, but the contract includes no offset language, according to's Ian Rapoport.

Draft signings


The New Orleans Saints' Kenny Vaccaro and Detroit Lions' Ziggy Ansah were the first of the 2013 NFL Draft first-round selections to sign. Follow all the moves right here. **More ...**

The Rams used the draft's eighth overall pick on Austin, the pass-catching, ball-carrying, kick-returning triple-threat who gives St. Louis an X-factor they've lacked entirely during Bradford's three-year run with the team.

Austin made a powerful impact on his teammates this week, leaving Rams punter Johnny Hekker swirling in the dust on a punt return during a minicamp session. The moves and lightning quickness of the former West Virgina star prompted veteran cornerback Cortland Finnegan to remark, "He is the real deal, man."

This year's rookie class produced plenty of early-round big uglies who promise to improve their new teams at the line of scrimmage. It's Austin who headlines the list of first-year playmakers. It will be fascinating to watch how the Rams use Austin, spreading him all over the formation in an attempt to help defenders league-wide discover how Hekker felt, just days ago.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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