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Steelers' WR Calvin Austin III

2022 NFL Draft Selections

Steelers 2022 Rookie WR Calvin Austin III Thinks Steelers Are The “Perfect Fit” For Him Due To Pittsburgh’s Hard-Nosed, Tough Mindset

Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers 2022 Rookie WR Calvin Austin III Thinks Steelers Are The “Perfect Fit” For Him Due To Pittsburgh’s Hard-Nosed, Tough Mindset

The Pittsburgh Steelers receiving core presents a unique combination of speed, size, and youth. After JuJu Smith-Schuster signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in March, it was obvious the Steelers had to address the position in the draft and/or free agency. They opted for the draft, selecting two wideouts in the first four rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft.

While George Pickens will draw most of the headlines heading into the season, Calvin Austin III presents a different dynamic to the Steelers offense. His speed obviously stands out, as evidenced by his 4.32 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine. That was good for third-best amongst WRs and fifth-best overall. By now though, you know about Austin’s speed. It’s an extra dimension to a group that has been missing it over the past few seasons, a speedster.

Steelers Calvin Austin III

Photo/Blue Chip Scouting

The Memphis product is more than just a speedster, though. Austin was born in Memphis and went on to play his college ball there. It’s a part of who he is, and that will help him translate to the NFL. Austin reflected on what it means to be from Memphis, via Teresa Varley of

“I am truly Memphis. I’ve got grit, and you have to have grit and you’ve got to grind. That’s truly what it means,” Austin said. “Memphis is a place where kids can get caught up in stuff. We have a different type of grind and work ethic. You’ve got to really work hard if you want it to last. Being a Memphis kid is when you are faced with adversity, you’re not going to back down. You’re going to see it, look at it straight in the face and you’re not going to back out of anything.”

Austin was essentially a late-bloomer when it comes to his success as a college football player. To start his career, he walked on at the University of Memphis. From there, he eventually became a star player by his junior year. Beyond just his receiving abilities, he displayed his speed as a punt returner as well.

Austin will bring obvious, much-needed speed to the Steelers. He will also bring another hard-nosed worker to the team, a hole that was left by Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster was very talented, but was never afraid to do the dirty work. That included being a key blocker on the outside, something many wide receivers don’t often take pride in. For Austin, he’s confident that his Memphis roots will help him translate smoothly to Pittsburgh.

“But being a Memphis kid, I’m not leaving what I started. I’m finishing what I started. I’m loyal. People were asking me why did I stay. I’m Memphis and that’s what made me the person I am today, just having that toughness,” Austin said via “That’s why I think being a Steeler is a perfect match because that’s what they’re about, hard-nosed, tough football players and football team. That’s why I think this organization is a perfect fit for me.”

Who will be the Steelers return man?

Austin has flown under the radar so far in the off-season, but he could end up playing a big role with the team this season. To start, he’ll be competing with free agent signee Gunner Olszewski for return duties. On the offensive side of the ball, he’ll be able to take notes and learn from one of the game’s premier route runners in Diontae Johnson.

Steelers Gunner Olszewski

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Gunner Olszewski (#89) practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex during the 2022 minicamp, Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Abigail Dean/Pittsburgh Steelers)

The rookie figures to be the perfect player for a Matt Canada-led offense. With Ben Roethlisberger at the helm for the past few seasons, we’ve yet to truly see what Canada’s offense looks like. He likes to use a lot of pre-snap motion and movement, an area in which Austin could be utilized in. That would include jet sweeps, reverses, and plays of that nature. It’s clear that Austin’s Memphis roots will help him transition into a blue-collar city like Pittsburgh.


Yinz, what are your expectations for Calvin Austin III in Year 1? Do you think he will become a big part of the offense’s future? Let us know your thoughts on Austin in the comment section below!




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Credit to my dad, I have been a lifelong Steelers fan. I have fond memories of watching the Steelers win two Super Bowls when I was a little kid. I have only been to 1 Steelers game in my life, which was in Kansas City. That was the notorious game where Antonio Brown pinned it against his chest down the sidelines for a touchdown. I hope to get to Heinz Field some day! I graduated from Iowa State University and look forward to growing as a writer with #SteelerNation!



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  2. Michael Marshall

    July 21, 2022 at 1:03 am

    Austin is a great addition to the Steelers. His speed will be utilized in many facets of the game. I’m interested to see how he responds to getting hit on a punt return. He’s small in stature, but he plays bigger than his size.

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