By Jeremy Hritz
Over the course of the next week, I will be profiling all of the Steelers draft picks and undrafted rookie free agents. The goal is to give you a comprehensive look at all of the new players to familiarize you with what they have to offer and what they can possibly contribute in the 2022 season.
With the 52nd selection in the NFL Draft, the Steelers selected wide receiver George Pickens out of the University of Georgia. The Steelers were desperately in need of a vertical element in their passing arsenal, and they get just that in Pickens, with the ability to make contested catches to boot. The Steelers hope to continue their wide receiving drafting prowess with their selection of Pickens.
|Height||6’3||School||University of Georgia|
|Weight||195||Major||Housing Management and Policy|
|40-Yard Dash||4.47||20-Yard Shuttle||DNP|
College Receiving Statistics
Possesses excellent, but not elite speed, enough to get behind defenders, and coupled with his ability to make challenging catches in traffic, he is a legitimate threat in the deep passing game. Tough, ferocious, and aggressive, Pickens is fearless in making receptions in chaos, and when given the opportunity even when it appears there is no chance for a catch, he somehow secures the ball. Everything is always moving forward with him, and he could very well develop into a #1 receiver.
Areas for Growth
Pickens tore his ACL in March of 2021, and even though he battled back to get on the field in the National Title Game against Alabama, there is concern of how his knee will hold up as his career progresses. Still needs to get stronger for the NFL game and expand his route availability beyond vertical concepts. Must also reign in his competitiveness which has led to outbursts on the field which have hurt his team.
Where Does He Fit Into the Depth Chart?
Pickens automatically becomes the Steelers #3 wide receiver and will get immediate snaps in this offense come September. The Steelers will be looking for him to serve as an outside vertical threat and to provide a physical presence in the wide receiver room.
Projected Contribution in 2022
If Pickens can stay healthy and develop a rapport with both Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett, he has the potential to be a desired target and a featured component of the offense. No doubt there will be a learning curve, but as a second round pick, anything less than 500 yards and at least 6 touchdowns would be a disappointment.
Did You Know?
Pickens’ older brother played defensive back at Arkansas State, in addition to playing briefly in the NFL and the CFL. Like Kenny Pickett, football is in the bloodlines for Pickens.