Austin Mack came to Ohio State as a 4-star recruit from Indiana but never really lived up to his rating. He had his best season as a senior, totaling 361 yards and three touchdowns on 27 receptions.
Standing 6'2" and 215 pounds, Mack went undrafted, again likely due to his production totals and that he never really emerged as a top receiving threat. The Giants signed him as an undrafted free agent after the 2020 draft (one of three undrafted free-agent receivers signed), but Mack began his rookie season on the Giants' practice squad.
He was a practice squad elevation for the team's Week 4 game against the Rams, but Mack didn't dress for that game. He was signed to the active 53-man roster on October 13, 2020, and made his NFL debut on October 18 against the Washington Football Team.
Mack, who earned a starting assignment in the Giants' Week 17 regular-season finale against the Cowboys, caught seven out of 12 pass targets for 91 yards and no touchdowns as a rookie. He had just one drop and forced five missed tackles and played most of his rookie-season snaps on the outside, where he had his best showing (five receptions out of eight pass targets) against zone coverage.
What He Brings
Mack is another one of those fringe players facing a steep uphill battle to carve out a roster spot, but there are a few things that he has going for him.
For one, he proved to be a solid run blocker. Per Pro Football Focus, he was the Giants' second-best run-blocking receiver, behind C.J. Board.
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Mack wasn't afraid to get physical and bully smaller defensive backs and can be seen on tape as having delivered some key downfield blocks to open holes for the running game down the field.
He also has limited special teams experience, taking part in 22 special teams snaps last year toward the back half of the season.
Mack is in the second and final year of his contract and will count for $780,000 against this year's cap.
Overall, Mack has enough athleticism to go with a prototypical frame for an outside receiver and is a fairly savvy route runner. Still, he's going to have to up his special teams showing if he's to have a chance at slipping onto the bottom of the receiver depth chart on the roster. Given the depth ahead of him, a return engagement on the practice squad right now looks to be the most realistic scenario.
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