George Pickens: The Pittsburgh Steelers’ latest defensive killer
We’re over a week away from the 2022 NFL Draft, and the Pittsburgh Steelers pick that excites me more than any other is No. 52 pick George Pickens of Georgia. Pickens is an absolute beast and, in my opinion, would have been a 1st-round pick if he hadn’t torn an ACL in 2021. He brings an enormous amount of talent and promise to the Steelers’ wide receiving body.
Pickens is 6’3″, 195 pounds and was born in Alabama, like legendary former Steelers wide receiver John Stallworth. With just his raw ability, Pickens has the potential to become the Steelers’ very own “DB Slayer.” , and I agree, the Steelers got a steal by getting Pickens in Round 2. Pickens offers excellent overall value, and given Kevin Colbert’s record for picking top quality receivers, there’s every chance he can become a great pickup for the Steelers. .
Now, some have questioned Pickens’ attitude. Some called him a troublemaker after his high-profile fight on the field in his freshman year against Georgia Tech and his water-bottle-spraying antics against Tennessee. However, when you actually look at this guy, he doesn’t seem to have a bad attitude. In an interview during his sophomore year, after a fantastic individual performance, rather than talking about himself, he praised his offensive line, quarterback and coaches for helping him get to a position where he could perform as he had just done. Also, in 2021 after his non-contact ACL injury, rather than just focusing on being in full form for the draft, Pickens fought back and, while not 100%, played a part in the Georgia’s run to the national championship. To me, that doesn’t sound like a player with an attitude problem, Pickens looks like a first team player with an advantage, which is what you need to be in the NFL.
Sure, Pickens has an aggressive nature to his game, but that aggression is what makes him who he is. A wide receiver who can win contested catches, someone who fights for extra yards, a receiver who fights to get into the end zone, and someone who takes no sense of defensive backs. Pickens is the perfect place to get that aggression channeled in the right way to make him a top 10 receiver in the league. Mike Tomlin makes Pittsburgh a perfect place for Pickens, given that he’s one of the best at motivating and focusing his players the right way.
George Pickens’ statistics are promising to say the least. While at Georgia, he averaged 14.8 yards per catch in 2019, 14.3 yards per catch in 2020, and 21.4 yards per catch in 2021, allowed with just 5 receptions. During his three years in college, he racked up 1,347 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. Pickens also played slot machine and outside receiver, showing positional flexibility that is something Tomlin and Matt Canada really appreciate.
When you look at Pickens’ overall value, what’s not to like?
- fast and strong
- A burst of speed that helps him outpace media coverage
- Creates big throwing windows with its breaking point suddenness
- Ability to point the ball high
- Win contested captures
- Elite Capture Ray
- Vice Shaped Hands
- Physical when he blocks
Fans of the black and gold should be thrilled to see him make plays for the Steelers for years to come.
Pickens has all the skills needed, if he can stay healthy and used the right way, to help turn Pittsburgh’s offense into a dynamic one. Along with Chase Claypool, Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Calvin Austin III and Diontae Johnson, he’s a weapon Kenny Pickett or Mitchell Trubisky will love to target early and often.
I firmly believe George Pickens has the skills and attitude to be a WR1 in the league and should be a welcome addition to the Steelers offense for years to come.