As a young player entering the NFL, obviously a top goal should be to be a sponge and soak up as much knowledge and information from veteran players as possible, be it in regards to the playbook or how to take care of your body, etc. For rookie wide receiver Cavin Austin III out of the University of Memphis, he has a Pro Bowl player atop the depth chart in Diontae Johnson, who’s fresh off his first 1,000-yard season, in which he can learn from. It’s worth noting that Johnson actually just reported to OTA’s today, as he’s seeking a multi-year extension from the team that places him among the highest-paid in the league.
“It’s been great,” Austin said earlier on 93.7 The Fan. “You can tell he’s a vet, a guy that’s obviously did it before. So just seeing the way he worked and how he came in, get prepared and everything like that is something I can definitely look up to.”
The diminutive Austin has legitimate track star speed, as evidenced by the 4.32 40 time he blazed at the NFL Combine. Although not the biggest guy at only 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, he plays much bigger and has the heart of a lion. He was quick to note earlier that Johnson is a player he’s been watching film on for awhile, as he’s known leaguewide for his dazzling footwork and route running.
“I’ve watched a whole lot of football, and he’s kind of a guy that’s quicker, can get in and out of his breaks. He’s definitely a guy that I’ve watched before and in the past. So I’ll just continue to watch him in detail and practice, get out of his breaks and stuff. It can definitely be something that I can take and learn from.”
While the team lost several receivers in free agency, the draft provided ample opportunity to replenish the cupboard, as they not only added Austin but George Pickens in Round 2. It’ll be interesting to see how Johnson’s contract situation pans out, but the team has to be feeling pretty good overall about their abundance of depth at the position.
Known in many league circles as the best in the business when it comes to drafting wide receivers, perhaps Austin will add his name to an impressive list of WR gems that have been found in the middle to late rounds. After all, Johnson was a mid-round pick himself, from Toledo in the MAC Conference, so who better to show Austin the ropes than Johnson. As long as he’s cleaned up his drops, a problem which plagued him again last year, then the team should have one of the most talented receiving corps in the league.