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Najee Harris on Calvin Austin III: “He’s gonna to be featured a lot”

The Pittsburgh Steelers have big plans for the 2022 4th Round draft pick.

NFL: New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base is one which is split on certain players. Maybe it’s someone like Dan Moore Jr., who could have a training camp which keeps 1st Round draft pick in the 2023 NFL Draft Broderick Jones on the sideline as the swing tackle to at least start the season.

Another player some fans are split on would be second year wide receiver Calvin Austin III. The 4th Round pick in the 2022 draft showed promise in the early stages of last year’s training camp, but his season ended before it started when he injured his foot prior to the first preseason game.

Now, with a full season, and offseason, to get healthy, some fans are wondering if the team actually has a role for Austin. Or is he the next Senquez Golson or Dri Archer? I shudder to think about it.

Nonetheless, after the release of Anthony Miller, it bodes well for Austin not just making the roster, but having a role within the team’s offense this season. In fact, his teammates were saying just that during the last part of offseason workouts.

“I think he’s gonna be featured a lot,” Najee Harris added when asked about Austin. “He’s gonna put a lot of pressure on defenses.”

As for Austin, he isn’t bold enough to suggest how Matt Canada plans on using him, but he is focusing on working hard and proving his worth throughout every workout and practice.

“I just go out there and work my hardest and just use my talents and my best ability,” Austin said. “I think from that the coaches and, obviously, my teammates have kinda taken note and taken that as, ‘Ok, I can do different things.’ Whatever that role is, wherever they see me needed I’m gonna be able to answer that call.

“I’m glad (Harris) said that. That’s definitely a big compliment coming from him. I know I said this from the beginning (of OTAs), I felt extremely comfortable to do other things I may not have been asked to do last year because I was just trying to learn the playbook, learn where to line up.

“I definitely think I can do a lot of different things. I’m glad I’ve been able to be healthy and be able to show some of the different things I can do out there.”

Another person who would have a very strong opinion and viewpoint of Austin is his position coach. Frisman Jackson lauded his versatility, but also admitted the offense is still in the “figuring things out” phase and trying to see where everyone fits.

“We’re still massaging his role,” Frisman Jackson said. “We’re putting him in different places, just finding out what he’s good at, just trying to find a natural role for him and using his strengths and his talents to exploit the defense.

“We’re still massaging that out. Thank God we have training camp coming up and we’re not playing tomorrow because we can still find out what his role is and find out ways to exploit that from a defensive perspective.”

The fact remains, Austin is being set up to have every opportunity to prove his worth. The release of Miller only boosted his chances of having a role on the team, but he still has to capitalize on his opportunity. If he can stay healthy, and can make plays when given the chance, Najee Harris’ prediction very well might come true. We’ll all see how this plays out when the team reports to training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA on July 26th.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.