Steelers training camp: Early winners and losers before the pads come on

  • A fan-favorite rookie struggles with mental errors
  • Edge defenders steal the show so far

Steelers, Anthony McFarland Jr.
Steelers, Anthony McFarland Jr. / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Loser: Calvin Austin III

You have probably seen some fan clips of Calvin Austin III making a few big plays down the field. Following a season-ending foot injury, Austin still looks fast and explosive (which is great news). However, despite his brief highlight reel, Austin has struggled more often than not early at Steelers training camp.

On the first day of practice, Austin couldn't seem to get on the same page with his quarterbacks, and a few big-play opportunities were missed. Since then, Austin has been inconsistent when targeted. He has rarely been able to make plays outside of his framework so far. This shouldn't come as a total surprise. At just 5'7 3/4'' and 170 pounds with 30''arms, Austin is always going to be at a severe size disadvantage.

Still, in order to be successful, Austin needs to be able to make plays even if the ball placement isn't perfect. The lack of length has caused him to miss some plays in traffic that many other receivers around the league would make.

Austin really needs to be more than just a 'gadget' player that the Steelers have to engineer targets for. He needs to be a legitimate threat from the slot. Again, there is still plenty of time for him to turn it around and become more consistent, but the occasional big play isn't going to cut it if he can't be trusted to come down with routine passes.