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Calvin Austin lll almost became a Baltimore Raven, the Steelers swooped in at the last minute

Photo courtesy of GoTigersGo.

The Baltimore Ravens are recognized as having one of the best outings in the 2022 NFL Draft. They selected Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton, with their first overall pick and then chose guard Tyler Linderbaum out of Iowa. The extra first-round selection was awarded after the Ravens traded wide receiver Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals.

In the second round, Baltimore added another talented pass-rusher to their vaunted defense in David Ojabo. The one blemish that everyone has on the Ravens’ 2022 draft is that they did not address the wide receiver position after parting ways with Brown. According to CBS Sports, there is a reason why Baltimore did not select a new target for Lamar Jackson.

“The Baltimore Ravens draft haul has been hailed as one of the best from this past weekend. But thanks to their biggest rival, Baltimore was not able to get one particular player they were hoping to select in the fourth round.

The Ravens were hoping to acquire former Memphis receiver Calvin Austin III with the 139th overall pick. But before they could, the Steelers drafted Austin with the 138th overall pick. Baltimore, who instead of drafting Austin selected former Penn State punter Jordan Stout with the 130th overall pick, settled on Coastal Carolina tight end Isaiah Likely with the 139th pick.

“Gotta be kidding me,” someone inside the Ravens’ draft room said after the Steelers drafted Austin, according to NBC Sports’ Peter King.

Instead of going to Baltimore, Austin is heading to Pittsburgh, who earlier in the draft added to their receiving corps by selecting former Georgia receiver George Pickens. While on the small side, the 5-foot-9 Austin is a speedy, explosive player who has the ability to make plays from both the slot as well as on the outside. He can also be a factor out of the backfield on jet sweeps and bubble screens.

“Calvin’s a smaller guy, a stop-start guy, punt return capable,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of Calvin, who ran a 4.32 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. “It seems like, over the last several years, the offensive skill positions at Memphis, they’ve had a lot of dynamic playmakers, and he’s just the latest. We’re excited to add him.”

This is why teams have to be aggressive once the NFL Draft begins. You never know what a divisional rival has planned once the process starts. Rival franchises could have their eyes set on taking the same player. If Baltimore felt that Austin could be an immediate contributor on offense, they should have selected him in the third round. Instead, they went with defensive tackle Travis Jones out of Connecticut.

The city of Memphis will enjoy seeing Austin in a Steelers uniform. There’s a huge Steeler fanbase that has been established in the town for decades. The departure of Brown now leaves the Ravens offense with receivers such as Rashod BatemanDevin Duvernay, and James Proche II. Reports indicate that 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuels wants to be traded. It would behoove Baltimore to pick up the phone and make a deal.

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Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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