clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Austin Calitro looking to sneak onto Seahawks final 53-man roster

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Every year the Seattle Seahawks keep at least one player on the final roster who was given zero public consideration as training camp opened, sometimes up until the final days. Last year, the Seahawks kept David Bass ... for the first two weeks, at least. In 2016, you may have been surprised by Brandon Williams or Justin Hamilton. This year, it could be a linebacker who went undrafted in 2017 and has bounced around to four teams already, including Seattle twice.

But Austin Calitro seems destined to make his 53-man roster debut this year.

Signed in June after he was waived by the Cleveland Browns, Calitro returned to the Seahawks after releasing him last September, paving the way for him to go to the Browns and stay on their practice squad for most of the season. Prior to that, Calitro had signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent and went to the San Francisco 49ers after former Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith suffered a season-ending injury; clearly Calitro has some of those linebacker qualities that Seahawks coaches look for.

Returning to Seattle this time around, Calitro had to battle against the likes of veteran D.J. Alexander, undrafted free agents Emmanuel Beal, Jacob Pugh, and draft picks Shaquem Griffin, Jacob Martin. Not that he was in a direct heads-up competition with all of those players, but it was something like that. Through training camp and preseason, it sure appears that Calitro has outlasted enough Seahawks linebackers to have a clear inside track to the final roster.

Carroll recently talked about the August that Calitro has had:

Playing college ball at Villanova, Calitro’s final season included 86 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, and 3.5 sacks (virtually the same numbers as his junior season too), and he rotated between outside linebacker and three-point stance pass rusher. We should all know by now how much Carroll values versatility like that. At his Pro Day, Calitro ran a 4.67 40-yard dash at 6’, 239 lbs.

Of the 17 fastest linebackers at the 2017 NFL Combine — ranging from 4.52 to 4.70 — 16 were drafted. Based on measurables, Calitro profiles very closely to a number of fifth round linebackers, but without the big-name college or the combine invite, he slid out of the selected range and wound up with the Jets.

Calitro may now outlast a number of his draft class linebacker mates in addition to his competition on the Seahawks.

Last year, Carroll kept seven linebackers, compared to six linebackers in 2016. So we can expect Seattle to keep 6-7 linebackers and there appears to be plenty of room for Calitro as Bobby Wagner’s main backup who also has versatility to play on the outside. The Seahawks are going to keep Wagner, K.J. Wright, Barkevious Mingo, Martin, and Griffin. That gives Carroll 1-2 more linebackers to keep and Calitro’s “competition” includes Beal, Pugh, Alexander, Josh Forrest, and veteran free agent signing Erik Walden, who likely isn’t vying for the same position as Calitro.

Beal had a lot of important special teams snaps this preseason, but he was actually outdone by Calitro in that category on Thursday against the Oakland Raiders: 14 snaps for Calitro compared to 12 for Beal. On defense, Beal got two more snaps than Calitro, though it was the subject of this article who had perhaps the best night of anyone.

It’s still quite possible that despite all his efforts, Calitro still ends up not making the team. Seattle surely feels they have to stretch to keep seven linebackers which means that the prospect of losing someone like Walden or Alexander could prove a little more difficult than it sounds on paper. Beal and Pugh would seem easy enough to squeak onto the practice squad, as could Calitro, but he’s been a little more popular and may not make it there or last there for long. Has he earned the opportunity? Sure.

Will he get it? We’ll find out soon.


Austin Calitro is

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    (828 votes)
  • 11%
    (110 votes)
938 votes total Vote Now