Calvin Austin III showed up in his first preseason game and torched the Buccaneers’ defense for most of the night. That included an explosive 67-yard touchdown from Mason Rudolph that turned heads. He seems firmly entrenched in the team’s roster as the WR4, and a speedy fourth receiver is something that other teams have on their roster, too.
Well, Pro Football Focus analyst Steve Palazzolo has an interesting comparison for Calvin Austin. It would be to Lions wide receiver Kalif Raymond, who is a pure speed receiver that the Lions rely upon to create explosive plays in the rotation with other strong receivers. In many ways, he and Austin are similar players. That is what Palazzolo sees in this comparison.
“You’ve got Calvin Austin as a deep threat, leading the team in both receiving and rushing yards,” Palazzolo said on the PFF NFL Show. “You know, he had that bomb from Mason Rudolph. I really enjoyed his tape coming out with the speed and quicks. If he becomes the Kalif Raymond in that offense, Raymond from the Lions who is just a pure speed threat, take 2 or 3 shots to him per game, and that has been very successful for the Lions offense the past few years. I think Calvin Austin can be that guy for the Steelers. You know, plus some of the other stuff he does like jet sweeps.”
This is an interesting comparison that does hold up from an athletic standpoint. I do think the Steelers will hope to see more from Austin than what Raymond gets, but for functional use in 2023, this is probably spot on. Austin growing and breaking out as a player takes the team’s group of weapons to another level, and it becomes an offense where Kenny Pickett has a lot to work with. Austin has continually impressed at training camp, and it seems that his playing career is off to a hot start as well.