Rodney Austin was undrafted coming out of football powerhouse Elon. But his growth has been no joke. The offensive lineman was signed by the Lions after the 2012 draft and spent that season on the practice squad. He played in one game in 2013.
Here are three reasons he is likely to make the 53-man roster:
1. He’s versatile with the ability to play center and guard. This is key. It’s unlikely he’ll be a starter this season, but the Lions will have seven active offensive linemen on game days — five starters, a backup tackle and a backup guard/center. With Dylan Gandy gone, that backup role should fit Austin.
2. His future is bright and eventually he could win a role as a starter.
3. Jim Caldwell likes him. “Rodney’s smart. Rodney’s tough. Rodney’s a good leader and he has skills and ability. (He is) a strong and powerful guy. He’s developing,’’ Caldwell said.