A report emerged from Pittsburgh Steelers training camp this week that should get fans extremely excited.
The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly reported that Steelers rookie wide receiver Calvin Austin III is as fast as advertised.
Kaboly noted that Austin had the best play of the first day of training camp, catching a pass off a smoke route and taking it 61 yards for the score (Kaboly pointed out that Austin was assisted by a great block from Gunner Olszewski).
From The Athletic:
Austin is fast. We all knew that when the Steelers drafted him in the fourth round in April, after he ran a 4.32 at the combine in February. But to see it up close and in a practice setting was eye-opening for the fans watching and surely offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
Austin made the most dynamic play of Day 1 when he took a smoke route from Rudolph, got a kick-out block from Gunner Olszewski and sped 61 yards to the end zone for a touchdown on a pass that barely went past the line of scrimmage. If Austin can provide those kinds of plays in games for Canada, who likes quick throws, it makes this offense a little more dynamic.
“Coach is always on us about our finish. I don’t try to show them my speed. I think about finishing,” Austin said.
Here’s a clip of the play:
This is great for Pittsburgh for a couple of reasons.
For starters, Austin is going to bring some different elements to the offense. That kind of speed is hard to defend. And it opens up a lot of possibilities for the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s offensive line struggled at times last season, so we might see more plays like this to help out whoever is playing quarterback for the Steelers.
Secondly, the future of Pittsburgh’s wide receiver group is unknown at this time. Will they extend Diontae Johnson and/or Chase Claypool?
I imagine the answer to that question is largely dependent on how Austin and fellow rookie George Pickens perform this season.
If both players play at a high level, then it gives the Steelers some options when it comes to Johnson and Claypool and their respective contract negotiations.
It’s obviously very early in training camp, but it should be thrilling for Pittsburgh fans to see one of their promising rookies off to a quick start.
Featured image via Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports