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Calvin Austin III NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for Pittsburgh Steelers' WR

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor IApril 30, 2022

MEMPHIS, TN - SEPTEMBER 25: Memphis Tigers wide receiver Calvin Austin III brings in a pass during the college football game between the Memphis Tigers and the UTSA Roadrunners on September 25, 2021, at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, TN. (Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

HEIGHT: 5'7 3/4"

WEIGHT: 170

HAND: 9 1/4"

ARM: 30"

WINGSPAN: 6'1"

40-YARD DASH: 4.32

3-CONE: DNP

SHUTTLE: 4.07

VERTICAL: 39"

BROAD: 11'3"

POSITIVES 

— Flashes the ability to beat press coverage with quickness at the line of scrimmage. Will blow by corners who don't get a hand on him at some point in his route.

— Reliable hands. Willing to work over the middle of the field to make hard catches in traffic.

— Short stepper with buildup long speed who can stack corners if he beats them off the line.

—.Tough and willing to compete and scrap as a blocker.

— Good ball skills. Maximizes his size to the fullest and shows off the ability to adjust for tough catches away from his body.

— Has punt return ability.

NEGATIVES

— Short height and very small frame.

— Will rise up when getting into route breaks. Telegraphs his moves to defenders.

— Can be very loose with his routes.

2021 STATISTICS

12 G, 74 REC, 1,149 YDS (15.5 AVG), 8 TD, 1 RUSH TD, 1 PUNT RET TD

NOTES

— 2021 first-team All-AAC.

— 2020 first-team All-AAC.

— Was a track athlete who walked onto the football team.

OVERALL

Calvin Austin III is an undersized receiver with a small frame but very good speed and balance. Although he's only 5'7⅜", he does play as big as he physically can and maximizes his size to the fullest.

Austin has good hands and can haul in throws well away from his body. He's more than willing to work over the middle of the field or in traffic. His toughness and competitive nature also show up when he's asked to be a blocker. He consistently goes to the right assignment and is willing to scrap with much larger defenders.

Even with his smaller frame, Austin does most of his damage operating from the outside. He wins with quickness at the line of scrimmage when facing press coverage. Cornerbacks will play off coverage against him because of the threat of his long speed. He can take the top off of coverages with his top-end speed.

Austin is only an average to above-average route-runner at this point in time. He has the quickness to keep cornerbacks off-balance, but he can be a bit loose with his route breaks and leave throws vulnerable to undercutters. He also has a tendency to start rising up as he is about to break on routes and will zig-zag on his path. More advanced defenders will take advantage of that in the NFL.

Overall, Austin is a unique prospect in that he plays much larger than he is. You respect his football ability, but you have to always keep in mind the small package that it comes in. He has the speed to threaten defenses on a snap-to-snap basis and enough ball skills that he can make the most of non-deep targets that he receives. Austin also has punt return ability, which will allow him to see the field early in his career.

Austin will always be subject to a snap limitation and have injury concerns given his diminutive frame, and more physical cornerbacks will give him some issues. But he projects as a No. 4-type receiver who can be used in a role to stretch defenses vertically, with the hands and enough skill to be a contributor on other types of plays.

GRADE: 6.9 (4th Round - Potential Role Player)

OVERALL RANK: 116

POSITION RANK: WR19

PRO COMPARISON: Taylor Gabriel

Written by B/R NFL Scout Nate Tice

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