St. Louis had a need for a slot receiver and kick returner and paid a rather heavy price to get it. In order to move up eight spots in the first-round order, from No. 16 to No. 8, the Rams gave up first-, second-, third- and seventh-round picks.
The Rams' need arises from the loss of Danny Amendola, who left as a free agent and signed with New England just after the Patriots lost Wes Welker to Denver.
Oddly, all three of those players - Austin, Amendola and Welker - are small receivers who played in college for Dana Holgorsen, Austin at WVU and the others when Holgorsen was an assistant at Texas Tech.
Austin gives the Rams essentially what they had with Amendola, but with more speed. Last season at WVU he led the nation in all-purpose yards - 1,289 receiving, 643 rushing and 978 on returns. He was 6 yards short of an all-time NCAA record with 572 all-purpose yards in a game against Oklahoma.
"They've talked to me about special teams, running back and slot receiver,'' Austin said. "So they definitely have plans for me.''
Austin was asked Thursday night what he would bring to St. Louis. He wasn't boastful.
"I'm going to work hard, that's number one. I'm not going to be a distraction,'' Austin said. "I'm going to come in and play where the team needs me, whether it's special teams, running back or whatever. I'm going to come in with the right mindset.''
As the No. 8 pick, Austin became the highest-drafted Mountaineer since Pacman Jones went No. 6 to Tennessee in 2006. Including Jones, only six other former WVU players were ever drafted higher than Austin. Dick Leftridge (No. 3) in 1966 is the highest-drafted Mountaineer ever, followed by Jones, Joe Marconi (1956) and Joe Stydahar (1936) all at No. 6 and Brian Jozwiak (1986) and Chuck Howley (1958) as No. 7 choices.
Austin is by far the highest-drafted wide receiver in school history, 20 spots ahead of where Reggie Rembert was picked in 1990.
The second and third rounds of the draft are tonight. Then on Saturday the final four rounds will be conducted.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Aaron Rodgers' draft position.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.