Dallas acquired Austin from the Rams back in April for a sixth round pick. When the trade happened, the immediate consensus was that Austin would be the Cowboys new “web back” (whatever that is) in sort of a Lance Dunbar role. This also in part to Cole Beasley still being the number one option in the slot. Still, on the roster, Austin is listed as a running back, but begins his day in the wide receivers’ room.
“I don’t care what I’m being called as long as I’m playing,” Austin said. “That’s all that matters. You can call me anything you want as long as I’m playing.”
It is looking like Austin could really be the playmaking, Swiss army knife that this Cowboys offense has been missing. Where they have experimented with guys like Dunbar, Ryan Switzer and Lucky Whitehead to name a few, Austin seems to have more of the build to run the ball and haul in all sorts of passes. In addition, he’ll be likely be the favorite to return punts, and maybe even kickoffs for Dallas.
What’s also reinforcing this thought process is offensive coordinator Scott Linehan’s noting that he wants Austin to be second on the Cowboys in touches behind Ezekiel Elliott.
A wrist injury hampered Austin for most of 2017, preventing him from finding a fixture in Sean McVay’s crafty Rams offense. Some will say if Sean McVay can’t figure out a way to use him, no one will be able too. But Linehan was able to figure out Reggie Bush when Sean Peyton was unable to so we’ll agree to disagree here.
Like Linehan or not, he does have a pretty good track record of being able to make talent like Austin useful, so he should be given the benefit of the doubt here.
Picking up Austin and at the very least trying to work him out as a useful component in the offense was a low-risk move for Dallas that they were not going to pass up on.