Name: Erik Austell
Height: 6'3" Weight: 301
Age: 23 Experience: R
College: Charleston Southern
As a small school standout, offensive lineman Erik Austell is a player the Denver Broncos felt could compete for a spot on the roster in 2017 as an undrafted free agent. He played offensive tackle in college at Charleston Southern, but most evaluators have pegged him as a center at the NFL level.
Personally, I would love to see him get a chance to develop on the practice squad in Denver. Matt Paradis, with multiple hip issues, may need a quality backup behind him at some point.
Austell has great footwork and is a sound blocker in space and at the second-level. This is quite the feat considering he only started playing at the offensive line position in 2013 after being a defensive lineman all through high school. He is a smart player who always seemed to know his assignments.
Leadership is another quality he has. Obviously that won’t be a factor early in his career, but he if worked his way into the starting lineup he seems to possess the qualities you would hope for from a leader on the offensive line. He was even named his schools Senior Male Athlete of the year.
Austell doesn’t have the arm length to work outside, which is why he is more of an interior lineman at the NFL level. His biggest weakness, according to his draft profile, will be against bull rushers.
The small school stigma will be a motivating force for Austell, who has been trying to show he belongs through his entire college career and through being invited to the 2017 NFL Combine.
“Getting an invitation to the Combine is not like any other invitation; it’s an invitation to work even harder,” Austell said. “It gives me a better opportunity to showcase and the opportunity to work even harder. The biggest thing about being at the Combine is being able to show what I can do, match up against the best of the country, and show that I belong.”
Now he gets a chance to prove it.
As one of the few small school invites to the 2017 NFL Combine, Austell is clearly athletically gifted enough to have been drafted. He could end up being a solid find by the Broncos.
The road will be a long one for him, however. As an undrafted free agent, he will need to ramp up quickly and show all the right stuff in training camp.
Do you think Erik Austell will at least make the practice squad?
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