INDIANAPOLIS -- One of the smallest prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft class put on a big show in the first day of on-field testing at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Calvin Austin III, who checked in at 5-foot-7 3/4 and 173 pounds, ran a 4.32 40-yard dash at Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday evening. And that was just one part of an electric display from the former Memphis Tiger. Austin also posted a vertical leap of 39 inches and a broad jump of 11-foot-3. For context, that last figure is twice Austin's height. In fact, he's the shortest player to broad jump 11 feet since NFL Network launched in 2003. Austin's impressive marks in the 40, vertical leap and broad jump all ranked in the top three among receivers at this year's combine.
Blazing speed is Austin's calling card. In high school, the Memphis native was a nine-time state champion in sprints and relays -- and he continued those pursuits in college, earning All-America honors as a member of the Tigers' 4X100 meter relay team. Initially a football walk-on, Austin led Memphis in catches, yards and touchdowns during each of the past two seasons: 63 receptions for 1,053 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2020; 74 grabs for 1,149 yards and eight scores in '21. And this past fall, he made the most of his one carry, taking an end-around 69 yards to the house.
Austin's explosiveness has gotten him to this point, but will his game translate to the pro level? NFL Network draft analyst Lance Zierlein calls the wideout a "productive playmaker with below-average size but above-average heart," crediting him for his fearlessness between the lines. Predictably, size questions are nothing new to Austin, but the wideout doesn't shy away from them.
"It's me. I've been having to deal with that my whole entire life and it's never held me back," Austin told Cleveland.com at the Senior Bowl in February. "Obviously, since I've been this size my whole life, it's allowed me to learn new techniques and new ways to use that to my advantage. One of the coaches had told me that this is my superpower, this is my advantage. Just with that, I think it's the best thing going."
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