New England Patriots bolstered their secondary by signing rookie cornerback Alex Austin of Buffalo Bills from Houston Texans on Wednesday after they released him in 7th Round draft pick he quickly found new home with New England.
Austin is a 6’1″ and 191 pound defensive back. He played college football for Oregon State. He played on special teams in the Texans’ three games this season. He will join a Patriots cornerback group that includes Jonathan Jones, Jack Jones, J.C. Jackson, Myles Bryant, and Shaun Wade.
Austin’s journey to the NFL
Austin was a three-star recruit from Long Beach Poly High School in California where he excelled both wide receiver and cornerback positions. After considering offers from Arizona, Colorado, and Utah universities – Oregon State was his pick! Redshirting his freshman season (2019/20), Austin played in 11 games as a freshman (2020). Recording 18 tackles and two pass breakups along with redshirtstanning again to start 2019.
Austin played in all seven Oregon State Beavers 2021 games and led his team with four interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), 25 tackles, honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection consideration nomination consideration nomination consideration as well as six forced fumbles.
The Buffalo Bills selected Austin with the 252nd overall pick in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft. He was one of four cornerbacks drafted by the Bills, along with Greg Newsome II, Elijah Molden, and Rodarius Williams. He competed for a roster spot during training camp. Still, he was cut by the Bills on Aug. 29.
Austin’s stint with the Texans
On August 30th, Houston Texans claimed Austin off waivers after his contract had expired with the Indianapolis Colts, joining an organization with new coaches – David Culley as head coach and Lovie Smith as defensive coordinator – joining alongside Bradley Roby, Vernon Hargreaves III Terrance Mitchell Desmond King II Tremon Smith on their 53 man roster.
Austin made his NFL debut against Jacksonville Jaguars and performed four special teams plays and one defensive snap. In subsequent weeks – against Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns – Austin did not record any stats or play.
Austin was released by the Texans on October 14 and added to their practice squad. Austin spent two weeks with the practice squad, before being released on November 1.
Austin’s opportunity with the Patriots
Austin did not have to wait long to find a new team, as the Patriots signed him to their active roster on Nov. 2. The Patriots had an open spot after releasing rookie cornerback Ameer Speed, who mainly played on special teams. Austin could fill a similar role on the Patriots who rank 28th and 31st for kickoff return and punt return allowed respectively.
Austin may provide much-needed depth and competition at cornerback, an area which has seen numerous injuries and departures this season. The Patriots traded away 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore to the Carolina Panthers last October while placing Jonathan Jones – their top slot cornerback – on injured reserve after Week 6.
The Patriots have turned to J.C. Jackson – currently leading the league with six interceptions – and Jack Jones (from Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad in September) as starting outside cornerbacks for their defense.
Myles Bryant (an adaptable second-year player who can switch between cornerback and safety positions) and Shaun Wade (an August acquisition through trade from Baltimore Ravens) have proven crucial contributors to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense as nickel/dime cornerbacks.
This year, the Patriots appear set to field an exciting team, sparking tremendous interest among both fans and betting communities for their potential winning streak. In anticipation of their strong performance, bettors can look forward to favorable odds on their games. What’s even more exciting is that starting this November, bettors will gain access to the ESPN Bet Massachusetts promo code, courtesy of the promising collaboration between Penn Entertainment and ESPN. This partnership is set to deliver one of the most enticing wagering offers in the market.
Austin will have to learn the Patriots’ defensive system, known for its complexity and versatility, under head coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Steve Belichick. He will also have to earn the trust and respect of his teammates and coaches, who have high standards and expectations for their players.
Austin’s outlook for the rest of the season
Austin will have a chance to make his Patriots debut in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers, the team that traded for Gilmore. He will face a familiar opponent in Sam Darnold, the Panthers’ quarterback who played at USC and faced Austin in college.
He will also have to contend with D.J. Moore, Robbie Anderson, and Terrace Marshall Jr., the Panthers’ talented trio of wide receivers.
Austin will have another opportunity to face his former teams later in the season: Bills and Texans. These teams meet twice for AFC East battles during Week 13 and 16 respectively before facing each other again for Week 15. In Week 15, however, Austin takes on both. When facing off against each team for Week 5, New England defeated both 25-22!
Austin must demonstrate on the field and show he belongs in the NFL. He must face down all of the challenges presented to a late round pick as both rookie and midseason addition, adapting quickly to his team, its scheme, environment and environment; competing both with teammates as well as opponents for playing time and recognition.
Austin will gain access to some of the greatest coaches and players from the NFL, such as Bill Belichick – widely considered one of history’s greatest coaches, having led the New England Patriots team to six Super Bowl victories under him; J.C. Jackson is widely respected among cornerbacks as one of their finest performers with an aptitude for making big plays in defense.
Alex Austin joined the New England Patriots after leaving Buffalo Bills. Drafted seventh round from Oregon State and previously playing three games with Houston Texans before their release last week, Austin will bring with him experience as an Oregon State cornerback and rookie cornerback drafted as an Oregon State rookie cornerback in 2013.
Austin will join a Patriots secondary that has been decimated by injuries and trades, looking to make an immediate impactful on defense and special teams. Austin faces both potential opportunities as well as unique challenges as part of one of the NFL’s premier franchises.
Austin must work hard, learn quickly, and impress his coaches and teammates quickly to earn respect as an NFL Patriot player. Later in the season he may face off against former teams like Bills and Texans; thus making this opportunity worthwhile for young Austin.