2022 Draft Class Review – WR Calvin Austin III

Another year has come and gone, with another draft on the horizon. It’s the perfect time to take a step back and reflect on the year that was, especially with respect to the most recent draft class. The Pittsburgh Steelers made seven selections in the 2022 NFL Draft, one in each round except for the fifth (zero) and the seventh (two).

The top of the draft marked one of the most momentous decisions in decades, as they used their first-round pick on the quarterback they hope will be the long-term successor to the retired Ben Roethlisberger. And they used much of the rest of the draft to find him weapons, marking the second year in a row they used each of their top two picks on offense.

Only two defenders were drafted, including a defensive lineman in the third round, the first time they have taken a lineman on that side of the ball earlier than the fifth round since Javon Hargrave in 2016. They also added an inside linebacker in the seventh round, who is the only holdover at the position from last season.

Over the next week, we will be looking at each of these players one by one and examining how their rookie season went and what we can expect from the moving forward, both during the 2023 season and potentially for the long term. But we’ll discuss each briefly below.

Player: Calvin Austin III

Position: WR

Draft Status: Fourth Round (138th overall)

Snaps: 0

Starts: 0 (0 games)

Fourth-round draft pick Calvin Austin III dressed for as many games during the 2022 season as did seventh-round pick Chris Oladokun, which is to say, none. In fact, if you include preseason games, then Oladokun actually got in a lot more work before being cut.

Austin, however, did accrue a season, only he did it while spending the year on the Reserve/Injured List. The slight wide receiver out of Memphis suffered a foot injury on the eve of the Steelers’ first preseason game and hardly took the practice field again after that.

He opened the year on the Reserve/Injured List but was allowed to return to practice following the bye. At some point over the next three weeks, he aggravated the foot injury that landed him on the reserve list in the first place, ending his season. He followed up with surgery on the injury, from which he continues to recover.

In spite of the injury, Austin believes he is right where he needs to be mentally and is ready to hit the ground running as soon as he is physically able. Perhaps in part in anticipation of his second-half return, the Steelers did deal wide receiver Chase Claypool last year at the trade deadline.

His opportunity to get on the field in 2022 never came to fruition, but the team is surely hoping that things work out this season and he slides right into the third wide receiver role in between Diontae Johnson and George Pickens.

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