Kenny Beckett on Calvin Austin: ‘It’s really hard to bear’

If you’re not going to be a big guy in the NFL, you better be fast. Rising wide receiver Calvin Austin definitely checks square one. Austin, like fellow rookie George Pickens, was constantly making noise during camp. After making more plays during Saturday’s closed camp practice, Austin earned praise from QB Kenny Pickett.

“Always talking about every day, we feel like we’re getting better and more comfortable on the attack,” he said via Steelers.com. “Everything slows down for us, and the more reps we get. Obviously when he knows what he’s doing, at the speed he has, it’s really hard to cover it up. So he did a really good job.”

Austin reportedly fell into a relegation to shut down Mitch Trubesky’s two-minute workout. Austin played a big role in Trubisky’s first session earlier in the week, including a 20-yard completion that got the offense into the ten. Pickens ended that drive with a relegation.

While we won’t get camp stats from today’s session, Austin has shined since the pads came out on Monday. With numbers to be posted tomorrow, Austin has six receptions on nine targets for 124 yards over his last four practice sessions and 160 yards since the start of camp. His yards led the team easily thanks to a 76-yard touchdown that had gotten deep into the left flank line from an earlier exercise on a pass thrown in by Mason Rudolph. But Austin also has receptions at 13 and 21 yards while working the fast/down game as well, highlighting his versatile skill set, and a great combination of long speed and under slack.

Mitch Trubesky also spoke to reporters, and said via PPG’s Steve Rotstein, that ousting Austin appears to be an impossible task.

“It seems so,” he said. “You put it there and you’ll say, ‘I don’t know if he’ll get to it. “Then he’s running under it… We just have to keep making use of his speed.”

Trubisky went on to say he saw a “big leap” in the Austin play from last week to this week. The same can be said for many beginners, including Beckett, who made steady progress after two days of slow boot camp. While Austin’s role in Week One is less obvious than that of Pickens, the good guys who play the plays find their way onto the field. Pittsburgh still has uncertainty over the future of the slots this year and Austin has mainly worked indoors after playing abroad in Memphis. His production may fluctuate, but he’s on the cusp of hitting several home shows this year, making him a solid mix for beginners along with Pickens.

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